In anticipation of New Year’s Day, as Columbus Christian Spirituality Examiner, I published an article regarding special food that is eaten on the first day of the New Year:
Earlier in the week, I had written a note to the director of a nutritional clinical trial that I am participating in at the OSU Medical Center. Participants are not supposed to eat any legumes during the clinical trial: That means no beans or peas. Among the list of specific legumes to avoid eating are black-eyed peas, which as the article notes, have been part of the African American tradition of New Year’s Day food that represents prosperity in the coming year.
In light of my participating in the Nutrition 40 Clinical Trial, I realized that I won’t be enjoying that tradition this year. The idea caused me to smile and inspired this poem:
No Black Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, even as your soul prospers.
3 John 2
This New Year begins in a most unusual way:
2011 finds me in a clinical study.
A part of the soy bread trial is to be “legume-free.”
In the midst of a “two-week wash out” comes New Year’s Day.
I must avoid food with beans or peas of any kind.
No black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day: a contradiction.
From childhood I remember this soul food tradition
That now provides another chance to renew my mind.
Some insist that menus on the first day of the year
Include black eyed peas for prosperity, by all means,
And wealth symbolized in mustard, kale or collard greens.
These valued kitchen customs many folk still hold dear.
But beyond traditions and symbols of earthly wealth,
I know God desires that I prosper and be in health.
The verse from 3 John is also the introductory scripture to another poem related to the same theme of wealth and prosperity from a different perspective.
A Question of Wealth
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, even as your soul prospers. 3 3 John 2
How do you measure the fullest meaning of wealth?
What is the total value? How much is the price
Of a fruitful spirit, a sound mind and good health?
Can you calculate the sum and then square it twice?
To prosper and be in health, even as your soul
Prospers cannot be measured by any amount
Withdrawn from the world’s treasures, for even the whole
Earth could never contain so vast a bank account.
But those who set their affections on things above
And not on things on the earth are free to explore
The infinite riches of God’s favor and love,
For they alone know their true value even more.
The truly rich ask to receive and seek to find
The priceless wealth of strength in God and peace of mind.
As 2011 unfolds, we recognize that true prosperity does not come from the food we eat on the first day of the New Year, but that the blessings of the Lord abound to those who hear and heed His Word.