Food and Affection
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
Any good parent can tell you what a child needs most. It is love. We all need to be fed. More than just food, we need affection. We are all children in God's sight. God, who is divine Love, knows what we most need. And God is always present to supply that need.
Without affection we wither - like plants that, even though they may be fed and watered, struggle to exist when they have no light. Love, the life-giving light that rules the universe, is available to all. And how do we find that Love? It was Jesus Christ who said, "For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.... What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?" (Matthew 7:8-10). You and I can ask to see God's gifts to us, which are practical and meet our present human needs.
In his instruction to his followers, Jesus gave rules for living known as the Beatitudes (see Matthew 5:3-12). These address the most urgent needs of humankind and show how they are satisfied. Here a reference to food is made metaphorically: "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." Later on Jesus said more directly, "... take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?... But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Chap. 6, verses 31, 33). Our most basic human needs are satisfied through God as "added things" when we first seek righteousness, hungering to be good.
The Lord's Prayer includes the request to God to give us "our daily bread." And the textbook of Christian Science refers to God's response to this request in terms of His feeding "the famished affections" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures," Pg. 17). Our need for love, specifically the love of God, is legitimate.
If we fail to grow in wisdom, we may miss the point, failing to see our life purpose, thinking that sufficient food on the table, along with nice housing and clothing, is primary. But the recognition that spiritual understanding can be truly satisfying is something we can awaken to more each day. The failure to find satisfaction in the mere consumption of food and goods can alert us to a far more urgent need - that is, to have the "famished affections" fed by God. And, having them fed, to help others to be fed in the same manner by being merciful, kind, and caring toward them, remembering those human touches that express the love of God.
Why do people overeat? Could it be that they are not being sufficiently nourished spiritually? Jesus said that when we "hunger and thirst after righteousness" we are "filled" with righteousness. Therein lies a satisfaction food will never give. Why do people abuse drugs? Perhaps it is to fill some aching void that, they may learn in time, can only be filled by growing to know God and thus to find Love.
Spiritual hunger becomes more recognizable as it is admitted that food, clothes, and even other people do not satisfy our deepest needs, although they are all essential to human life. There is no meal or pill or relationship that can lead us first to God, whereby all our needs are met and all affections fed.
Science and Health asks, "Who hath found finite life or love sufficient to meet the demands of human want and woe, - to still the desires, to satisfy the aspirations?" (Pg. 257). This book has proved itself worthy to be placed alongside the Bible in answering the needs of humankind. Are you hungering and thirsting for something more? Are you longing to find true satisfaction and fulfillment? I invite you to read this book thoughtfully and with an open mind. You could well find yourself on the way to spiritual joy and satisfaction that you never dreamed possible!
For the kingdom of God
is not meat and drink;
but righteousness, and peace,
and joy in the Holy Ghost.