Mindful Eating God commanded The Human, “You can eat from any tree in the garden, except from the Tree-of-Knowledge-of-Good-and-Evil. Don’t eat from it. The moment you eat from that tree, you’re dead.” —Genesis 2:16–17 (MSG, adapted) MOLLY BASKETTE | Some people give up certain foods for Lent, or fast altogether. At a church I once served, the other pastor, a bodybuilder, fasted on Lenten Fridays. Every time he thought of food, he substituted the word “God” for the word “food.” That made him think about God a lot. For others, rigid rules about food drive them further from God and from their most in- tegrated, healthy selves. Eating disorders are the leading cause of death among all mental illnesses—even greater than depression. Still others teach themselves to eat mindfully: doing nothing but eating when they are eating, celebrating each bite, eating whatever they want, but stopping when full. When God made humans and was showing them around Eden, one of the first things She did was establish rules around food. Eat this, don’t eat that. Had She already forgotten how curious we were (arguably our best feature)? Or did She (chuckling all the while) sus- pect that to deny us something would make us crave it immediately—and knew all along how that meal would unfold? Because truthfully: She never followed through on the threat. We didn’t die. In fact: our world expanded as soon as we ate. Our eyes were opened. Eventually, God gave us more gifts, like clothing appropriate to our new and larger habitat. Neither feasting nor voluntary fasting is holier than the other. Try one, try another, see what makes sacred space within and without. PRAYER God, feed me with the food that I need. Amen.

About the Writer:
MOLLY BASKETTE pastors at First Church Berkeley (CA) United Church of Christ. She is the author of several books about church renewal, parenting & faith, and spirituality.

Source: “Running from Empty” | 2023 Lent Devotional by the Stillspeaking Writers’ Group, made up of United Church of Christ ministers and writers who collaborate on resources for people in the church, outside the church, and not sure about the church.