Plant Based Spirituality
By Clare McGaughey Bryan
The term “plant-based” has gotten very popular these days. Grocery stores are filled with what have been coined “plant-based” products. Plant-based diet plans now compete with meat-based diets. “Move over meat,” the marketers hawk, “here come our scientifically created meat-like products!” Books, news articles, and online videos also teem with plant-based “products.” But there is another “plant-based” term I want to talk about today. Plant-based Spirituality. People of the Old Testament lived in an agrarian society—a culture where planting and farming were a way of life. So too, the people in New Testament times lived similarly. So when Jesus came along, he spoke to his listeners in terms they understood. He spoke in “Plant-based” terminology.
In the first century people had numerous occupations, but they all understood the agricultural terms Jesus used because they lived in an agrarian society and could understand principles more clearly when they were explained in “plant-based” terms.
These days, we would do well to learn more about the natural world we live in. There are agricultural terms which would help us in our daily lives if we did. Most of us are literally “clueless” when it comes to understanding where our food really comes from and how it is grown and harvested and processed.
People in biblical times calendars were filled with planting, pruning, and harvesting crops, while these days our calendars are filled with to-do lists, appointments, and projects to be accomplished. Even seasonal festivals revolved around harvests in ancient times, while these days most of our “festivals” aka holidays, revolve around whatever the major marketing corporations try to sell us!
The Bible uses “plant-based” theology in numerous instances.
“The grass withers, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”
“The righteous shall…grow like a cedar in Lebanon.”
“The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man which sowed good seed in his field,” … “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed.” Jesus says.
In fact, plants are laced throughout the Bible. Used in the literal sense, they are used in describing foods the people grew and ate, as well as herbs used for cooking and medicinal healing; and in the spiritual sense to give the people an illustration or word picture to understand a spiritual lesson.
Wheat was perhaps one of the the most important plants grown in ancient times and is nothing like what we have these days. It was a whole grain, often ground into flour and used to nourish the people. It was not stripped of all its nutrients or modified in anyway, and artificial vitamins did not have to be added back in like they do these days. It was not “enriched and bleached”—no, wheat was a TRUE food—real and wholesome, used to make life-giving BREAD, that nourished the people who grew and ate it.
Jesus knew the power of using the physical to illustrate the spiritual and in John 6 he spoke of being “The Bread of Life” after the famous miracle he performed known as the Feeding of the five thousand (recorded in all four gospels.)
“I am the bread of life,” Jesus told his followers,…”Those who come to me will never be hungry; those who believe in me will never be thirsty.”—John 6:35
So, next time you go shopping, think about PLANT-BASED SPIRITUALITY and remember JESUS. HE is the ONE TRUE REAL BREAD OF LIFE.
About Clare McGaughey Bryan