Chaplain's thought for the week
Revd Tom reflects on not taking the food we have for granted
This week in the Junior School our theme has been the importance of having a healthy, balanced diet. This is clearly good for both our physical and mental well-being. In Chapel I considered the fact that even talking about having a healthy diet means that we’re fortunate enough to have food on our plates. It is so easy to take the food we have for granted, yet we live in a time and place in which we have such an amazing choice of foods every day – and we rarely experience the pangs of hunger for long.
In the story of the feeding of the five thousand in the Gospels, Jesus is teaching large crowds in a remote place. He teaches them for a long time until it grows late, and his disciples suggest that they send the crowds away so they can get food. Jesus, however, tells them that he will feed the crowds. The disciples gather up the few pieces of food they have – five loaves and two fish – and Jesus takes them, thanks God for them, and miraculously there is enough to feed the multitude.
The story reminds us that Jesus is not simply concerned with the spiritual aspect of human beings, but the physical, too: he feeds a hungry crowd. Our diet and our physical health matters. For me, however, one of the loveliest parts of this story is Jesus’ gratitude for the small amount they do have. With the eyes of gratitude even a little might seem a lot.
For parents or teachers hearing children being fussy about food can be frustrating.
“I hate vegetables.”
“Yuk! That’s disgusting… ”
“Do I have to eat all my… ?”
“Can I have a snack before tea…? ”
… all these are a reminder of the fact that our children are not truly hungry in the way some people in the world are. I think we do need to help our children remember to be grateful for the food we have. While saying ‘Grace’ before a meal is not so common these days, there is a lot to be said for it. It reminds us that the food in front of us is a blessing, and it reminds us that there are people less fortunate than ourselves.
Why not make a point of pausing before you eat to say a quick “thank you”?