John Henry Fabre, a French naturalist, conducted an unusual experiment. He carefully arranged some “Pine Processionary Caterpillars” in a continuous circle around the rim of a flower pot. Fabre put pine needles (their food) in the center of the flower pot. The caterpillars traveled around the pot, hour after hour, day after day, night after night, for seven full days and nights! With enough food less than six inches away, they starved to death. WHY? Because they would not break out of their routine.
Our lives can get like that, if we’re not in tune with God. We can travel around in circles, ignoring the “food” we need for our souls.
Jesus taught us that our food is not “bread alone.” He said that our food is “to do the will of God.” Doing what God wants us to do, living the way God wants us to live, is our food, our nourishment. This always involves love, because “God is love.”
Our best food is experiencing the presence of God, experiencing divine love. Our best food is knowing Jesus Christ, the one crucified and raised, so that we, too, might live unto eternal life.
I personally follow several kinds of routines, from “to-do lists” to watching a favorite television show. But it’s important, from time to time, to break out of some routines. Breaking out of routines can be uplifting, both spiritually and emotionally. They can give a fresh start. But breaking out of routines can also cause problems, such as not getting needed tasks done, or failing to return to healthy routines. When I break away from good eating habits, for example, it’s not easy to return.
I believe that attending worship on a weekly basis is a routine lifted up in the scriptures for our well-being. Worship in community is food for our souls. It takes spiritual maturity to know when to follow in procession, and when to break out.
There are countless ways to break out of busyness of the world to receive the food that God provides for us. Important ones are reading the Bible, engaging in devotional reading, daily prayer and meditation. The most important food is doing God’s will, living the way God wants us to live, doing the right thing.
Not a day goes by that we don’t need spiritual food. The gifts of God, real food, are available to us and provided for us daily. When we eat this food, we won’t starve. We won’t die.
Let us do what God wants. Let us live. Let us love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.