Friday, October 03, 2008

Underscoring Faith, Food, Foreign Policy...

A Place of Vulnerability and Trust

When we gather around the table and eat from the same loaf and drink from the same cup, we are most vulnerable to one another. We cannot have a meal together in peace with guns hanging over our shoulders and pistols attached to our belts. When we break bread together we leave our arms - whether they are physical or mental - at the door and enter into a place of mutual vulnerability and trust.

The beauty of the Eucharist is precisely that it is the place where a vulnerable God invites vulnerable people to come together in a peaceful meal. When we break bread and give it to each other, fear vanishes and God becomes very close.

-- Fr. Henri Nouwen

This prayer of Fr. Henri Nouwen's arrives on the heels of a heated, heated, evening of angry reflection and political emailing.

I am softened by this. I am lightened by this. I am taken to the simplest notions of what it means to return to breaking bread. To setting aside our fears and ammunition, and rest in the radical communal transaction of sharing a meal and being present with another.....I can't help but wonder, too, how much my faith permeates all of my political thinking. ...

What does it mean to sit down and be with "the other"? What does it mean to engage "the enemy?" What does it mean to be with ourselves? What is necessary to be present at the breaking of bread? Does it matter what faith or political ideology we hold when we come together?
What does it mean to be fed? To be hungry? To be heard? To feel safe? To share?
What does it take to get to the radical place of simply letting our guard down and letting love in?
What would a meal between world leaders look like?
What does a meal between my family members look like?
Where are the enemies?
Where is the ammunition?
Who is wrong? Who is right?
How does reconciliation happen?
How might good meals inspire transformational, sustainable foreign policy?

Just some questions, as I try to reconcile all that is at work in my spirit.

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