News.com recently had a comprehensive article on what to, and what not to, include in the children's school lunch box. One interesting statistic is that one third of a school child's eating experience comes out of the lunch box.
That in itself should alert us all to the need to be vigilant and cautious as to what is placed in the children's lunch boxes. The article didn't take into account the following -
a) once at school our little darlings regularly 'swap lunches' (albeit new rules such as peanut butter).
b) there is a direct correlation between handsome pocket money and the school tuck shop
c) children have no interest whatever in the intricacies of the world of dieticians
But what did interest me in the article and which was not in any way expressed almost a side road from the main purpose of the article – that is the spiritual nature of a nation together in a specific activity.
The lunch box preparation functions in every school aged household from Cooktown in far north Queensland to Albany in far south Western Australia.
Just imagine in your mind's eye as a heart felt picture of this one activity
- in every household,
- every school day,
- the ingredients (bread, condiment, fruit ...)
- the supermarket purchases
- the variety of lunch boxes
What might be deemed spiritual
By this I mean the Christian conceptualisation of a spiritual experience, a spiritual moment where the very essence of the community activity is somehow touched within our hearts by the Spirit of the Lord.
It can happen in many different circumstances and locations, such as a community meeting on some issue, such as sand retention in many beach side communities, a sporting fixture, even the stock exchange. It is instantaneous, it cannot be planned, it just happens. (The stock exchange does remind me of the story where the bank robber was told the 'real money' is not in a bank, but the 'stock exchange').
The Scriptures intimate such moments, there are many examples in the Old Testament, where the people responded as such. We might cite the situation such as - walking around the walls of Jericho – Nehemiah and his team rebuilding the Temple walls – and many others.
The New Testament has them too – such as the various communities of Christians raising funds for the Christians in Jerusalem. Another is the astonishment of the community when Paul is unharmed after being bitten by an asp. And many more.
The lunch box preparation
In many Christian homes, as the lunch box is being prepared by mum / dad for the children, there is prayer uplifted to the Lord that this food will bless and nourish the children, a prayer for those children without such a lunch box of food to enjoy, a prayer for the children at the school and their families.
This is Christian family lunch box preparation 101 – it becomes part and parcel of daily activities. It becomes an incredibly important part of the morning, not only for the physical sustenance of the children but a spiritual encounter with things surreal.
But I imagine an even wider perception – a nation together each morning – preparing the children's lunch boxes – the nation's next generations – providing for their needs in physical, intellectual, social and spiritual components yet within a whole, as Paul describes the Christian walk in Ephesians – 'as one'.
Other things too
Imagine Sunday mornings across the nation with Christian worshippers gathering together in all sorts of facilities from school halls to suburban churches to great cathedrals – all singing praises to the Lord, all listening in silent zones and being heart challenged by the preaching of the Word.
Imagine the prayers of the nation. Community prayers, prayers around the kitchen table, individual prayers – all to the Lord in unity of thankfulness and petition. Prayers for the community, the nation, the world, prayers for those under persecution, prayers for those who are ill, hospitalised, dying, prayers for the family, the children, the spouse, prayers for work, the nation's well being and the unemployed.
Prayers for mission and evangelism.
These are great spiritual times and moments – as is preparing the children's lunch boxes.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html