Rice and Beans Again?
November 22, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
In our home we have developed a Thanksgiving Eve tradition. We eat only rice (and sometimes beans) for dinner the night before the feasting. My pastor while I was growing up in Illinois held this tradition with his family. We don’t do this so that we would be super hunger for Thanksgiving. It is a form of fasting. As with any form of fasting, we “afflict” ourselves physically in order to stir up spiritual virtues. We pray for the growth of:
- Gratitude. We enjoy on a regular basis rich and savory foods, with great variety. We have our favorite meals, but we often don’t circle back to a favorite for at least two weeks. Sometimes, because of the various taste desires in our family, we prepare two or three different meal options just to appease everyone. With such variety and ease of access, we easily fall into a rut of taking these things for granted. Withholding variety and richness of food helps us be thankful for these gifts.
- Remembrance. In 2010 we spent the school year in Cameroon, West Africa, teaching. Erin and I were struck by our students’ eating habits. They did not enjoy the luxury of variety that we did. With limited resources, their normal meal consisted of rice, beans, and/or a corn meal called fufu. They had vegetables or fruit only when they were in season. Meat was a rarity, because it was so costly to provide. With our meal of rice, we aim to remember that the majority of the world, including the students we knew in Cameroon, would be grateful to have such a meal.
- Justice. A theme throughout the Old Testament is God’s desire for his people to value and seek justice for the oppressed. God says through his prophet Isaiah, “learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause” (1:17), and again “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” (58:1). Withholding rich food for one meal will not bring justice to the oppressed, but we pray that it would teach us to value justice as God does. I pray that our hearts would become burdened for justice.
May God bless you and your family with hearts of gratitude and love for justice as you enjoy your Thanksgiving feast!