Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Story of Banana Bread and Communion

This is a fascinating movie about what it
means to be Arab-American, Muslim and more
One of my favorite scenes in the movie "Fordson: Faith, Fasting and Football" takes place among four unsuspecting football players, on the field, during practice. It is the holy season of Ramadan, which requires Muslims to fast from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. A microphone listens in on their conversation, but they don't know it. Standing in a small huddle, they stretch and start talking. They could talk about anything, but they don't.

"I'm dreaming of a Snickers bar right now. No, I want a Snickers ICE CREAM bar and Mountain Dew. I want it so badly I think I could throw up." Another player agrees as one looks at a teammate off in the distance. He is drinking water from the fountain (he must not be Muslim). "I think he's drinking from the fountain of heaven right now."

A collective "wow" comes from my students. And laugher does too, but the student athletes and I laugh from a deeper place. It need not be a high holy day--a day to fast or abstain from meat. It could be any day at practice, really. Perhaps you get it. Maybe you agree. How's that?

I can't tell you the number of conversations I have had with my athletes and my own former teammates about food. It's just so easy to talk about. It's the most basic of all human connections; it can be a cultural and religious connection too. Food can tie one generation to the next. It marks history and is passed on through tradition. And when it is shared after a hard work out and serves as something more than just fuel, it can be an act of communion or transformation. Indeed, food has that kind of power. Jesus modeled that for us in his final hours as He shared a meal with His disciples.

I thought about those conversations when one of the chairs of the International Food Faire at St. Ignatius College Prep, where I teach, asked me to share a recipe. She wrote "This year, we have attached an SI Food Faire Cookbook to the IFF website.Through the Food Faire Cookbook, we hope to highlight and share our community’s rich and diverse culture and traditions. I would like to invite you to submit a recipe with a little story. It does not have to be anything complicated or elaborate. It can be your favorite grilled cheese sandwich or root beer float. The idea is that all good food have stories behind them and those stories need sharing just as much as the food."

Gracie Girl on her special day
It was an honor to share not only my recipe for Quick and Healthy Banana Bread but the narrative that accompanies it. In talking about baking, I also had an opportunity to reveal the love that went into making this bread for a certain team several years ago. You can read the story here.

I wasn't able to make it to the 23rd annual Food Faire, but that was a for a good reason. My God-daughter and niece, Grace made her First Holy Communion at St. Peter's on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. In the twelve years I have worked at SI, I have not missed the IFF, but I know that today, I simply took part in the Communion of a shared meal, in another way.

I am grateful for the way both events have afforded tremendous spiritual nourishment.

Photo CreditsFordson

No comments:

Post a Comment