Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve started looking for Holy Ground in the most basic of places-our 5 senses. We looked at the world around us to find Holy Ground with our sight. We listened to the sounds of God in the world to discover the same Holy Ground through our ears. Today, we consider how we might find Holy Ground in our tasting.
Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” How do we taste the goodness of the Lord? Certainly, there are many ways. Today we are contemplating the Holy Ground found in the actual sense of taste.
Scientifically, there are 5 basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami (or savory). We detect these via the bumps on our tongue that are called papillae. These aren’t the actual taste buds, though (I always thought they were). Each of the papillae has hundreds of taste buds AND each of the taste buds has 50-100 taste receptor cells! Isn’t that amazing? There are also taste buds on the roof, sides and back of the mouth and even in your throat! The various types of taste developed to help our bodies identify good vs. bad foods. For instance, sweet signals something good for giving you energy; while bitter tells your body ‘this could be poison’.
It’s not just the molecules in the food that creates taste, though. Our senses of smell and even touch (or the way food feels in the mouth) contribute to how it tastes. And chefs will tell you that the sense of sight is involved too. A lovely presentation is tastier than a monotone or scrambled together plate.
How can we ‘taste and see that the Lord is good’? Take time to savor your favorite food, without the distraction of TV or reading or other multi-tasking. Let your tongue and other senses really taste the ice cream or corn on the cob or steak. What tastes do you detect? Often there is more than one taste in an item. Isn’t it amazing that God developed our sense of taste so that we could enjoy all sorts of foods in all sorts of ways? We can remember God is good as we taste the food God provides.
We can ‘taste’ and find Holy Ground in our lives, too. There are times in life that could be considered sweet or sour or even bitter. Also, there are things in our life that add salt and savor to living. Jot down one time in your life that could be categorized as like one of the tastes. Maybe your graduation was a sweet time, or perhaps it was sour because you didn’t make the top 10 in your class. Was there some vacation that still brings memories that are so good that you want to continue to savor them? Probably there is a sad time in your life that still leaves an almost tangible bitter taste in your mouth.
Yet through it all, God’s love is present. The Psalm says, “blessed is the one who takes refuge (or trusts) in him.” The New Living Translation exclaims, “Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” We taste the love of God in our sense of taste, but even more in the blessings and joys of God’s love through all the ‘tastes’ of our lives.