Taste and See (Margaret Feinberg)

Here are the words for the fill-in-the-blanks in our “Taste and See” women’s Bible study with Margaret Feinberg (via DVDs).

Week 1 - You're Invited to the Table, part 1

Homework: Video Discussion #1-4 (p. 18-19) AND pages 22-29

Quotes from Chapter 1 – “An Invitation to a Culinary Adventure”

“Whoosh – the air around us rearranged, and with it, our attitudes”

“Home is not the building you live in; home is wherever you are understood.” (Christian Morgenstern)

“Together we had enjoyed the gift of food, the gift of togetherness, the gift of presence.”

“God had been intentional in each gathering. He used these encounters to uncover a deep need and satiate a deep hunger.”

“. . . from that moment on, we are perpetually hungry.”

“I began to suspect that food was created not just to satiate our bellies as we gather around the table but to create a place where God could meet us and fill our hearts.”

“God also rains down quail on the Israelites . . . To translate the scene into classic Forrest Gump terms – you can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There are quail kabobs, quail creole, quail gumbo. Pan-fried, deep-fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple quail, lemon quail, coconut quail, pepper quail, quail soup, quail stew, quail salad, quail and potatoes, quail burgers, quail sandwiches.”

“. . . the Israelites are tempted to lose heart and give up hope, but God promises he is cooking up something delectable for them and uses mealtime for their spiritual formation.”

“Through food, the Israelites will break free from their unhealthy upbringing.”

“Through food, the Israelites will grow in dependence on and trust in God.”

“Through food, the Israelites will discover new ways to think and talk about God.”

“Through food, the Israelites will experience the goodness of God together.”

“. . . a blessing awaits whenever we carve out an appointed time to gather together and become fully present with God and one another. When we hold hands and give thanks and remember those who planted, harvested, and prepared the meal, we reconnect with ourselves and each other as humans made in the image of God.”

“Around the table . . . we recognize our need for someone to look us in the eye and truly see us, for someone to lean in and listen to us, for someone to nod and acknowledge that we’re not alone.”

“The psalmist invites: ‘Taste and see that the LORD is good.’ Through these two sensory expressions, we are invited to become more attentive to God and the everyday aromatic, savory, and tactile expressions of his love.”

“In hunger and fullness, may we draw closer to the one who fashioned us.”

“Let us taste and see God’s goodness together. Let us follow our hunger and see what’s cooking.”

Week 2 - You're Invited to the Table, part 2

Homework: Video Discussion #5-7 (p. 19-21) AND pages 29-35

Quotes from Chapter 2 – “A Flaky Filet of Fish”

“. . . from a heavenly vantage point, God always sees what we cannot.”

“When we relinquish control, we become free to fix our eyes on God.”

“Jesus wants to show up in our lives – here, now, today.”

“. . . make space for the adventure God has preplanned all along.”

“. . . accepting our powerlessness is a sacred discipline.”

“When I relinquished, God flooded in and made himself known.”

“He longs to display his power and might in our lives, but he won’t kick us off the throne if we’re committed to wearing the crown of control.”

“Christ . . . wants us to awaken to all the places God unleashes mightiness – in our past and present, so we can look forward to a faith-filled future.”

“But if you stop looking to Jesus as your powerhouse, you may start thinking God is overlooking you, ignoring you, or worse yet, punishing you. If you close your eyes too long to God’s presence, you may convince yourself that somehow God has rejected you, or worse, has abandoned you altogether. You’ll grow deaf to the One who calls from the shore, the One who wants to fill your nets with the impossible and unimaginable.”

“. . . the fish reminds us to live on high alert for the power of Christ to invade our daily lives in something as basic and everyday as our food.”

Week 3 - Delighting in the Sweetness of Fruitfulness, part 1

Homework: Video Discussion #1-4 (p. 41-42) AND pages 44-49

Quotes from Chapter 3 – “A Plate of Sweet and Succulent Figs”

“I never imagined the bonding that could happen as we explored backyards and parks gleaning unpicked fruit.”

“When Jesus enters Jerusalem for Passover, people line the streets welcoming him with boughs of date palms. The fruit of these trees symbolizes victory over death.”

“. . . ‘the apple of my eye’ comes from the Bible, which describes God’s delight and devotion to his people as well as our delight and devotion to God’s instruction.”

“I’d heard the finest pastry chefs’ most innovative desserts don’t stand a chance against a perfectly ripe fig. Now I understand why. Not only does the fruit taste scrumptious, but each fig contains more potassium than a banana, more fiber than a prune, and more calcium than a glass of milk.”

“The Hebrew word for harvesting figs, oreh, means ‘light of dawn.'”

“. . . figs themselves appear monochromatic. They change color only in the few days they ripen. If a person doesn’t pay attention and study the ripening of figs, the harvest can be missed. No wonder Jesus uses figs as a metaphor to look closely and pay attention for his return and everyday presence.”

“Have you ever noticed that when you expect one thing, your attentiveness dulls to everything else?”

“Sometimes large changes in scenes go unnoticed either because of our preconceived notions or our focus on some other detail – so much so that we can miss them altogether.”

“The long-awaited Messiah has spent three years walking among them. He restores people such as Zacchaeus, heals those born blind, fulfills prophecy right and left; yet many people miss the cultivating, nurturing, life-giving work of the Savior because he isn’t who they expected a Messiah to be.”

“If we aren’t on the lookout, we could easily miss our harvest. We become so laser-focused on one desired outcome, we become blind to the many ways God is working all around us.”

“The fig tree alludes to God’s ongoing provision by way of its slow ripening and multiple crops. The fig leaves speak of God’s tender care as some of the coolest shade to be found in Israel. The fruit speaks of God’s sweetness through its delicious, nourishing sustenance.”

“Just as the fig tree is out of season, so too the season of the temple has passed. This will no longer be the place where the ritual system of forgiveness takes place. A new season has arrived with Christ the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate authority, the ultimate temple. Jesus destroys the fig tree, much like he ‘tears down’ the temple, so followers can see him more clearly and reorient their expectations toward true satisfaction in him.”

“Sometimes we’re tempted to find that satisfaction somewhere, anywhere, other than in Christ. When we do, we find ourselves disillusioned, disappointed, and, worse, the fruit of the Spirit doesn’t mature in us.”

“Like the image of people living contentedly under their own fig trees, our deepest hungers find their ultimate satisfaction when abiding in Christ.”

“Spiritual fruit is the result of being rooted in relationship with Christ. Any fruit – including love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – provides evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit. As we ground ourselves in God, he plants and weeds, nourishes and fertilizes, prunes and harvests. The yield of our fruitfulness are the qualities that make us look more like him.”

“In our most abundant moments, we live our lives like ‘the stars in heaven and the lilies in the field, perfectly, simply, and unaffectedly.’ These are the times when our branches are bowing low and our baskets are bountiful, and we feel satisfied.”

“But not all season or harvests burst with abundance. Sometimes, like the fig, we enter a difficult season.”

“If we’re only looking for the bright blossoms, the big harvest, the banner season, then we’ll miss so much of the work God is doing each and every day, in each and every season – even the difficult ones.”

“God isn’t waiting for one particular season in the distant future to yield fruitfulness in our lives. He’s working throughout every season and every harvesting cycle.”

“Christ’s vision for us: that we will continue to yield the fruit of Christlikeness and find our satisfaction in him long after gray hairs sprout and crow’s feet nestle near our eyes.”

“And when we see Jesus face-to-face, we will continue to bear an abundant crop with each harvest better than the last. God is infinite, and so we will never stop discovering new aspects of his marvelous character and we will never stop growing in our praise and adoration and joy in him.”

“God invites us to find our satisfaction in him, in the fruit he’s yielding in us week after week, season after season, in quantities we never thought possible and in layers of jammy flavors we’ve never known before.”

Week 4 - Delighting in the Sweetness of Fruitfulness, part 2

Homework: Video Discussion #5-7 (p. 42-43) AND pages 49-54

Quotes from Chapter 4 – “A Loaf of Bread Just Out of the Oven”

“. . . Jesus’s warning to beware the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. This isn’t a cautionary advisement against an outside contaminant. Rather, Jesus says, the same leaven that’s in them is already in you. Our real enemy isn’t what we see in others but what rises within us.”

“The boy gives the barley loaves, and they represent the hard work, sacrifice, and gifts of the entire family. Together, the boy’s family has nurtured and invested in those grains. The communal act is inherent in the planting and cultivating and harvesting and kneading and baking and sacrificing. This communal nature stands in stark contrast to how many of us live today.”

“More and more, we procure food alone and eat alone.”

“Before his departure, Jesus instructs, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.'”

“Christ comes to earth in the presence of the Father and the Spirit. He doesn’t come alone, and the bread he calls us to eat is not meant to be consumed alone. He invites us to partake in the fullness of the Father, Son, Spirit, and community of the saints.”

“We are created to live life around a table in the taking and breaking, giving and sharing, knowing and being known. Bread welcomes us into the community for which our souls were made.”

“The people we invite into our kitchen help make our house a home. As we bake, we share our stories, our laughter, our lives. In the process we nourish each other in the ways of Christ. We partake of the life-giving generosity of heaven here on earth.”

“As the bread of life, Jesus, the One who saves and sustains us in the wilderness, the center of our fellowship, the One our lives depend on, says, ‘Whoever eats this bread will live forever.’ That’s the table Christ sets for every eater.”

Week 5 - Chewing on the Bread of Life, part 1

Homework: Video Discussion #1-4 (p. 59-60) AND pages 62-69

Week 6 - Chewing on the Bread of Life, part 2

Homework: Video Discussion #5-7 (p. 60-61) AND pages 69-74

Quotes from Chapter 5 – “A Dash of Sea Salt”

“The salt mine offers a rare glimpse. Such magnificence fills our planet, our solar system, our galaxy, and far, far beyond, and it all declares glory, glory, glory to God.”

“Something about the depth and beauty of the salt mine reminds me that I am tiny and fragile. This happens whenever we become wonderstruck by creation: our emphasis on self automatically diminishes, and our desire to improve the welfare of others expands to occupy the space that ego once dwelled.”

“We are agents of preserving. God has placed us in this culture, in this time, in this moment, in this slice of history, to preserve the ways, the teachings, the life, the power, the presence of Christ.”

“As the salt of the earth, we are agents of flavoring. Our purpose is to bring the taste of heaven to earth wherever we go.”

“Just as salt brings out the best in food, so too, Christ brings out the best in us as others experience the flavor of Christ through us.”

“When salt is overpowered, it loses its ability to perform as God designed, as an influencer.”

“. . . as the salt of the earth, we are agents of human flourishing. Jesus is calling us to be fertilizer in his kingdom. We are the salt poured on that which is foul in order to foster fresh, new life. We are created to help others blossom and bud as they pursue the life God intends. Flourishing lives demonstrate evidence of the kingdom of God.”

“Sometimes the places Christ sends you will feel manure-like – the last places, the last people, the last situations you’d ever want to engage. Like Jonah, you may be tempted to resist the hardship, the discomfort, the awkwardness and stinkiness, to stay in your comfort zone. Yet, it’s your salty fertilizer that brings salvation to a dysfunctional and dying world.”

“God uses you with all your naturally harvested ‘minerals’ – your specific upbringing and personality and giftings and weaknesses and quirks. God leverages everything from your past wounds to your everyday work as he sprinkles you and other Jesus-followers throughout the world.”

“I once stumbled on wisdom tucked into some ancient Jewish writings known as the Talmud. There it says that if someone is suffering and in need, and you can take away 1/60 of their pain, then that is goodness, and the call to help is from God.”

“Your one little grain of salt can help with something someone else’s grain can’t. And when all the grains get mixed and sprinkled together, preserving and flavoring and helping others flourish occurs everywhere.”

“None of us are meant to preserve the whole earth, flavor the whole world, flourish the entire planet on our own. Yet you can begin today by simply asking God to bring to mind someone for whom you can ease 1/60 of their pain. And don’t be surprised if the person is closer than you think.”

Week 7 - Savoring the Salt of the Earth, part 1

Homework: Video Discussion #1-4 (p. 79-80) AND pages 82-89

Week 8 - Savoring the Salt of the Earth, part 2

Homework: Video Discussion #5-7 (p. 80-81) AND pages 90-95

Quotes from Chapter 6 – “A Bowl of Delectable Olives”

“Healing remains a mystery. Sometimes we obey Jesus by anointing and praying, and people return to full health; other times the sickness and suffering remain. The healing of the Anointed One doesn’t flow in the way or timeframe for which we often grievously ache.”

“Despite the pain, Jesus sends us out like the disciples to anoint and pray regardless of the immediate, visible outcome.”

“We are called to be people who give and receive anointing and prayer. The act itself can be healing as we make ourselves vulnerable, allow someone to enter our space and physically touch us, to remind us that we are not alone.”

“Any healing we see or experience is a gift from God, a glimpse of the future we’ve been promised.”

“In the fullness of time, God promises we will experience the fullness of healing. Sometimes the wait feels unbearable. Olives and their oil remind us to stay hungry to what’s possible and coming with God. Like the widow, we are to set out our jars alongside each other that God might fill us in ways we never thought possible.”

“Blessed are you, Lord, our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the tree. Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. Amen.”

Week 9 - Relishing the Olive and Its Oil, part 1

Homework: Video Discussion #1-4 (p. 101-102) AND pages 104-109

Week 10 - Relishing the Olive and Its Oil, part 2

Homework: Video Discussion #5-7 (p. 102-103) AND pages 109-114

Quotes from Chapter 7 – “A Flame-Grilled Lamb Chop”

“God has always been insistent about the merciful and humane care of animals. When you give a good life to flocks and herds, they reciprocate in turn by giving life to you and your whole household.”

“How we handle animals reflects how we treat others and how we treat God . . . If we are cruel toward animals, we will be cruel to one another.”

“In the ancient world and in most developing nations today, people view meat as a delicacy because of the intense labor and vast land required to raise the animals.”

“God’s majesty appears in the creatures, the creation, and the created order.”

“In describing God as owning cattle on a thousand hills, the psalmist paints a powerful image of God as Creator and Sustainer and Owner. God has the best and most abundant resources for all generations.”

“God wants a person’s best . . . He’s saying, ‘Don’t bring me the lamb you’re going to have to kill anyway.’ If it only has three legs or lacks an ear, that’s not what God wants. He wants our best and to trust him that when we sacrifice, he’ll provide the next animal for the offering.”

“John the Baptist cries out, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'”

“Those hearing John’s words would have understood that he was saying, ‘Here’s the most vulnerable One, or rather the One making himself most vulnerable, who takes away the sins of the world.'”

“From the Bible’s opening to the closing garden scene, sacrifice has always been a part of God’s rescue mission.”

“Those scents ascend from the temple whenever the priests sacrifice animals to atone for Israel’s sins. With our modern sensibilities, we struggle to wrap our heads and hearts around such activities, but in some beautiful, mysterious way those burnt offerings create a pleasant smell to the nostrils of God. That scent indicates repentance and represents the offer of life, reconciliation with God, and the covering of sin.”

“Through the bloody mess of Jesus’ death, the divine Son knows what it’s like to be betrayed by friends, crushed by powers that be, and feel searing pain. The divine Father knows what it’s like to watch a son be misunderstood, mocked, and deserted by his friends, and worse, to lose a precious child.”

“God could have sent his Son in a variety of forms, yet he chose a fragile human body with arteries that bleed, flesh that bruises, and nerve pathways that set the brain afire. In doing so, God experienced what we all experience living on this broken ball of dirt – pain, rejection, betrayal, loss, and grief. As a result, he became the type of God that no other religion claims to believe in: one who can offer his children not just sympathy but empathy. God doesn’t say he feels sorry for us but that he knows how we feel. And he really does.”

“By becoming flesh and offering himself as a sacrifice for humanity, God crossed the great divide from feeling sorry for our pain to being present in our pain. He became, truly, God with us.”

“This good news gets better. The sacrificial Lamb wasn’t content only to feel our pain, he chose to rescue us from the source of our pain – sin. Through his perfect sacrifice, the sting of death is plucked away and the grave no longer has the final say.”

“With a definitive word, God declared that he would always stand beside and work on behalf of the diseased and dying, the hurting and suffering. And this revolutionizes how we understand the call to be Christlike.”

“God’s ultimate rescue plan is one that he instituted for us and one he wants to institute through us. Just as Christ’s sacrifice exhibited both empathy and action, so too Christ calls us to lay down our lives for others in empathy and action. To enter into the pain of others and begin addressing it and alleviating it.”

“What’s the greatest place of pain and trauma for which you’ve experienced rescue and healing?”

“When blood ran down from the Savior to that soil that day, God issued an invitation to all of us: ‘Do not run from pain, my sheep. Follow the sacrificial Lamb into the dark and trust that he will light the way.'”

Week 11 - Discovering the Liturgy of the Table

Homework: Taste and see God’s goodness! Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to experience the presence of Christ at every meal!

Quotes from Chapter 8 – “The Perfect Finish”

“. . . ‘You must stay to celebrate Passover with us.'”

“Known as pesach in Hebrew, Passover commemorates the freeing of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery.”

“we recite a prayer that acknowledges the holiness of the occasion and offers thanks to the One who created the fruit of the vine . . . Blessed are you, Lord, our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

“The Passover provides a full sensory experience that follows the story of God’s liberation of the Israelites. The meal commemorates a physical freedom, but the heart of Passover ushers an invitation for spiritual freedom. To leave behind that which hinders, ensnares, enslaves us. To discover that God satisfies the deepest hungers of our hearts.”

“The exodus shadows the great salvation to come in Christ. When Christ came, he fulfilled the story which must also be passed among generations. This is the account of a different Lamb who offered up his body during Passover to free people from the slavery of sin. Just as God asks the Jewish people to commemorate the Passover with a meal, Jesus asks those who hunger for him to commemorate his life for a meal; the same elements that make up the pesach – the flatbread and wine – also make up the Eucharist.”

“Even more radical, Jesus is the meal in the Eucharist. The Bread of Life and True Vine, the two elements, tell us that food will mark our journeys just as it did our Jewish forbearers. Through this commemorative meal, we discover that God wants to satisfy the deepest hunger of our hearts.”

“God is waiting around every table, in every pantry, in every backyard garden. You just need some fresh ingredients, some time, and a friend or two. No matter where we find ourselves, mealtimes can become sacred spaces of supernatural satisfaction. When we invite God in, he satiates our hunger to know and to be known, to understand and to be understood, to love and to be loved. In community, God touches our physical appetites and spiritual affections.”

“Whenever we gather to eat – whether in a tricked-out kitchen or seated in a borrowed chair with food atop our laps – God is there because all food ultimately comes from him. Yes, God waits in Galilee. But the shores of all our lives are strewn with displays of God’s miraculous power. As we break bread, we find the satisfaction of our deepest hungers in the community our souls crave. As we share our lives, we taste and see God’s fruitfulness. And when we’re tempted to lose heart – and we all will be – we find courage in listening to and participating in the stories of God’s rescuing ways. Every table is a doorway, an entrance into a holy and sacred communion with God and those around us.”

“In the midst of a busy life, we can all create a space to taste and see God’s goodness. This begins by recognizing food as a gift from God instead of a commodity. Every mealtime is an opportunity to be on the lookout for Christ to reveal himself in surprising ways. We can all pause in order to pay attention to the One who has provided the food before us.”

“Food really is God’s love made delicious, nutritious, and restorative. But we must learn to slow down and savor the delicate flavors and divine lessons.”

“May your table be set, not just with food but vulnerability and delight. May your mouth be filled, not just with morsels of meat but with reminders of God’s lovingkindness. And may every meal at which you find yourself be a foretaste of the feast to come.”