I was going to preach this for Thanksgiving but courage didn’t hang with conviction as is often the case with me.
Paul says that “the Spirit clearly says” about the latter days: “They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer” (I Timothy 4: 3-5).
What usually jumps out at Protestants, including Lutherans, is the forbidding to marry part, but I want to focus on “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” Many believe these words of approbation apply to everything except alcohol and many more believe they can’t apply to tobacco. Can’t receive these creations of God with thanksgiving; if you think you can, try putting a bottle of wine and a pack of Camels on your thanksgiving altar at church. Nope, no how no way that alcohol that God gave to make glad the heart of man and to alleviate his sorrow (Ps. 104:15; Pr. 31:6) or tobacco that has stimulated the noses, bowels, and minds of men for centuries can be consecrated by the Word of God and prayer.
Fruits and vegetables (Make sure you get five servings a day now.) and not just grains but whole grains are good for you and praiseworthy. Lean meats are also okay. Be like the Israelites and give the fat to God. But don’t be like them when it comes to getting your Omega 3 acids. You’d have to cut out things like shrimp and crabs (Lv. 11:9-12). Come to think of it some foods are so good for you that you can simply leave out consecrating them by the Word of God and prayer.
Narratives on the Catechism published by Lutheran Book Concern of Columbus in 1915 gives food for thought in this regard. It says, “He who goes to the table without prayer goes away without the blessing of God and his meat and drink may prove the means of his death just as well as, had he sacrificed them with prayer, they would have ministered to the support of his bodily life” (Vol. III, p. 77.).
Hmm, what a strange thought. It is biblical but hardly medical; it is theological but hardly technological. The Word of God and prayer is what consecrate food to my health. The demon isn’t in the rum and the health isn’t in the food itself.
As the good Baptist preacher is wont to say, “That will preach.” But not my a coward such as I.