Creation & The Creator: Gathering what we need! 

Laura Miller February 27, 2024 2 2
Creation & The Creator: Gathering what we need! 
Gathering what we need!
By Laura Miller
Throughout the Bible the role of food in our relationships and times of fellowship is a constant theme. In its most intimate form, we are reminded of Jesus' gift of sacrifice on our behalf, when we break bread for communion. As well as filling our hunger physically, we see good food being shared as a joyful expression of love between friends. 
When the Israelites went into exile from Egypt, they were promised a future of living in a 'land of milk and honey.' Imagine escaping the hardships of slavery and reaching a place of abundance? A place where there was plenty of food and drink for everyone to enjoy. 
However in Exodus 16, the Israelites hit a crisis time where they cry out to Moses that they wish they had stayed in Egypt out of fear they are going to starve. They have not reached the land they were promised yet. God answers their cries with the provision of manna, a food that sustained them for the forty years they had left on their journey. 
The instructions on gathering the manna were that 'everyone is to gather as much as they need.' There was going to be enough food for people to survive, but there were careful instructions given how to gather, store and use the miraculous provision. God's gift came with the expectation that they were to be responsible for how they used it. 
The gap between the rich and the poor, between the fed and the food insecure, keeps growing bigger. 
In addition, how we grow, harvest and use food has become a crisis that has multiple effects on the environment. One of those effects is that there are literally tonnes of food going to waste each year. That waste ends up in landfill sites. This in turn contributes to global warming, from the release of methane gas as the food breaks down. 
For those of us who have the resources, what can we do in our own homes to prevent adding to this wasted food? Do we have habits we need to challenge so that we too 'gather as much as we need', and use it well? 
Around the same time I realised our family was facing sharp increases in all of our bills, I spent a lot of time studying this conundrum. We needed to budget really carefully. Could I combine our wish to care for the environment with our need to make ends meet? 
Shopping for food has become a more thoughtful discipline for our family. I spend more time planning now before I shop. Buying the staples we need in bulk, means there are less trips to the supermarket, where I know we will make impulse buys. We looked at how we could better use leftovers for another meal, and whether we needed to learn more about preserving food for the future. 
Our friends and family have benefitted from our new found skills in making jam and pickling vegetables. Like any new skill, it has taken perseverance and practice. Now our friends save their jam jars for us to use again. Changing one habit leads to other positive changes. 
Thanks to the internet, I have found other people to share tips with. Although I was raised to be frugal, I can always learn more. 
Whilst visiting Laura Digan recently she shared her experience of being given the gift of vegetables that had been bought on sale. This gift made its way into a tray of roasted vegetables that could be made into soup. Laura shared how her desire to utilise the food she buys more resourcefully has in turn given her the ability to bless others. The soup she makes might be the very gift another needs to receive. 
Laura and I both have recently challenged ourselves to getting our vegetables from a shop that sources produce locally. Eating food that is in season, that is freshly harvested, has been a further exercise in avoiding waste. In our home this has been a source of amusement as we have eaten foods we never knew grew here. Some of the more unusual items have been a challenge to the taste buds! 
Although I have never tried them, there are apps available where people can rescue unsold food from shops and restaurants, or pick up food unused by another household. Perhaps we need to celebrate some of the creative ways that have emerged from this complex issue. The more we share these creative ideas, the more we encourage each other. 
In amongst considering the complexity of this issue, there needs to be the preservation of dignity for anyone for whom food scarcity has left them relying on the generosity of others. Raising the issue of food waste should go hand in hand with discussions on tackling the increasing levels of poverty we face. 
Just as we are called to carry one another's burdens, we need wisdom in using our food to bless our neighbours, and our environment.
Laura Miller
Stayed tuned for the next Creation and Creator podcast which will be coming out soon!