Taste of His goodness; see how wonderful the Eternal truly is.
Anyone who puts trust in Him will be blessed and comforted. ~psalm 34.8 (The Voice translation)
Too many of us have been taught to live our faith in the top 3 inches of our bodies. We are taught to study, interpret and exegete scripture to know more about God and how to apply principles to our lives. Sadly, I know a lot of people who know a ton of the Bible - but do not experience God's love and delight and joy in any sort of manner. You could say they know about faith - but they are not full of faith.
I have often jokingly said that my "virtual" faith is amazing. What I think about God and what I imagine in following God are about as great as my "virtual" work out. Rather amazing! But without actually embodying my faith (or my workout) it isn't actually real.
True faith is always embodied - it is lived within the whole of us. When the Hebrew Scriptures speak of and pray for and bless with the word "shalom" - it is an offering of integrated wellness of heart, soul, mind and body. It connotes completeness, wholeness, soundness, harmony, tranquility and rest. To want shalom, means to want wholeness - a fully integrated and embodied faith in emotions, intellect, body and soul.
I love this quote from Barbara Brown Taylor in her book, An Altar in the World. When asked to share "what is saving your life now?" she said this:
What is saving my life now is the conviction that there is no spiritual treasure to be found apart from the bodily experiences of human life on earth. My life depends on engaging the most ordinary physical activities with the most exquisite attention I can give them. My life depends on ignoring all touted distinctions between the secular and the sacred, the physical and the spiritual, the body and the soul. What is saving my life now is becoming more fully human, trusting that there is no way to God apart from real life in the real world.
Taylor, Barbara Brown (2009-03-06). An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith . HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
One of the ways to engage our "most ordinary physical activities with exquisite attention" is to simply use our bodies by utilizing all of our senses. Smell your world, taste what you're eating, stop to touch the textures of bark on the tree, gaze through a magnifying glass at a cut carrot. Seriously - engage the curiousity and wonder you had as a child. Literally stop to smell the roses or the fir trees or the fresh air after a rainfall. Literally, smell your food before you eat it. Be attentive to your desire awakened when you smell something delicious. How amazing that your "taking it in" through your nose actually starts your digestive process, getting your tummy ready for your meal. Feel the textures of the food in your mouth - what's pleasing? What isn't? And let your tastebuds linger with the yumminess of each morsel. Note which parts of your tongue are "enlivened" with sour, with sweet, with acidic, with savory.
God's goodness is always present and is perceptible to us through our tastebuds, nostrils, ears, fingertips and eyes. True faith is always embodied. This is how we discover the sacred in the secular and God in the ordinary.
- Grab a hand-peelable fruit - like a banana or orange.
- Set a timer for 10 minutes and then use all your senses to engage with the fruit.
- What did you notice?
- What surprised you?
- What delighted you?
- In what ways might God be inviting you to be more attentive to everyday, ordinary things.
- Pray for the grace to "taste and see" the goodness of God in the midst of your day - and take note of the ways your embodied attentiveness has helped to "bless and comfort" you on your journey.