Today is January 2, 2010, my 50th birthday, and I weigh 210 pounds.
Evidently, that’s a problem. According to a chart I found online I shouldn’t lug more than 185 pounds. By other metrics I am reasonably fit. I ran the Twin Cities Marathon a year ago. I set no record, but I finished. I’m no couch potato, but evidently, I’m overweight.
My problem is food. I don’t dispute the fact. I love to eat and do, often, and too much, with little self control. Whenever I see food present in the room, I feel obliged to indulge. I simply do not want to miss an opportunity. If it is there, it should be mine. I don’t like to deny myself food pleasure.
There is nothing inherently wrong with enjoying food. God made food for pleasure as well as nutrition. God could have put vitamin C and pills; instead he made tangerines! God must have a sweet tooth. The problem comes -my problem – when I allow food to take charge and command my choice. When I give my will to the whim of whatever is in the refrigerator I become a slave instead of making food my servant. There is an ancient ugly word for this: it is called gluttony. Gluttony is sin.
I believe I am a glutton. That is a harsh word, yet true. For some reason I expect food to fill and empty place in my soul. It’s more than filling the stomach; food for me sometimes rivals God. Because of that, something has to change.
Hence, I am here commencing a new diet. It will be a public diet, aired here on this public forum. A friend once told me, if you want to climb a high fence, though your hat on the other side. Well, here’s my hat! I will begin to make food my servant instead of being food’s slave. I’ve tried this before; it never works. So this time I will not deprive myself with self discipline. That I will not say “no” to the food I love. Instead, I will take a spiritual route. I will diet by praying for my food. That’s right. I will pray for my food, that will satisfy not only my empty stomach, but that God, made the food will satisfy my soul. I’m calling this “The Eucharist Diet.”
“Eucharist” is the word Christians use to describe the “Lord’s Supper.” In the original language of the New Testament it literally means “good grace,” and was often used as the word for “thanks.” During the last Passover Jesus celebrated with his friends, he took bread and wine and passed it around the table saying, “This is my body; this is my blood.” He invited them to take his literal presence into their bodies. Jesus himself would be the food to feed the new form of life he would give them.
Jesus said that I should hunger and thirst for righteousness, and if I do I will be filled. He said that he had food, to another kind of food, that we know nothing about. He said that while the need bread, we don’t live on bread alone, but on God’s words. And Jesus himself is called the “Word.” We live first and last by consuming Jesus himself… He is the Eucharist. When I feed on Jesus, the inner empty places are filled. I need be a glutton for nothing but Jesus!
So I am here beginning an adventure. For the next six months I will follow this discipline and write about it. Here are my five rules for The Eucharist Diet:
1. I eat anything I want… AFTER…
2. I ask God if it is right for me… AND…
3. I ask God to bless my food so that it feeds my body… AND…
4. I ask God to feed my soul with what food cannot fulfill… AND…
5. I eat the Lord’s Supper with another follower of Jesus each day.