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Archive for August 6th, 2018

AImage result for bread of lifere you a “foodie”?  A foodie is someone with a particular interest in food.  We all have a particular interest in food especially when we’re hungry! We are all foodies. We’re also all “drinkies” especially when thirsty!  I came across this definition of a foodie, “A person who enjoys eating food, unlike everyone else, who hates food, thinks it’s disgusting, and would never consider eating it”. Have you ever met anyone who would never consider eating?  Of course not.

“Now there is a connection between our fallen humanity as flesh and the sheer physicality of human bodily existence. And the connection lies in our mortality. As a friend and colleague would remind me that all medical progress notwithstanding, the death rate remains at one per person. Or as Isaiah put it, “All flesh is grass”. It looks good enough when it is well watered. But just wait until August and watch it wilt and die under the Sun’s scorch. The gift of life given by God is not immortal. That is to say, it cannot survive on its own. Its survival depends on things outside itself. The oxygen that we breathe comes from the air around us. The water that we drink is equally outside of us. And food as well comes to us from beyond.

And therefore, it is sheer terror to have the wind knocked out of you and to struggle to catch your breath, And both hunger and thirst make us aware of our mortality. Guess what? THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO! That is their theological meaning. Hunger and thirst are sacraments of our mortality. They are the felt reminders of the fact that we do not have life within us.” (adapted from a sermon by Rev. Louis Smith+)

The world thinks it has life in itself.  The world thinks it is self-invented, self-made, self-sufficient, instead of given and good.  So much the world thinks it is it’s own creator, weather variations are enough for the world to cry out, The sky is falling!  We must save the planet! This is true, this dark planet must be saved, but we don’t do the saving and we have not done the saving.  We think that if we just eat more and drink more, we will be better.  That doesn’t work either.  When everything you ever wanted to eat and drink is not enough yet we think it will be is the spiritual problem…and it points to the source of our well-being is well beyond ourselves. The Source came to us and still does.

The feeding of the 5,000 is the background of this lesson.  The crowd in Capernaum’s synagogue hightailed it to Jesus because of  bread. “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”  They even wanted to make Him king because of the loaves.  They had their fill of the loaves but it wasn’t enough.  Jesus begins to point them to the place, more the Person who can give food that fills and true drink which quenches. The seal of the Father, the seal of the Holy Spirit is upon Him. Christ is signed, sealed and delivers us in His grace, mercy and peace.

New York chef, Anthony Bourdain had a show entitled “No Reservations”.  He traveled around the world with a main purpose being of eating and thereby introducing the particular nation and its cultures.  His show’s intro by Mr. Bourdain: “I’m Anthony Bourdain. I write.  I travel. I eat.  And I’m hungry for more.” For what its worth I liked Mr. Bourdain.  In traveling, writing and eating, he hungered for more.  Never filled. Mr. Bourdain killed himself.  A noose does not stave the hunger nor a bullet quench the soul. Starving to death and dying of thirst is very clear to see but spiritual thirst and hunger is not so clearly seen. In fact, it looks good:  it looks like what we see on TV and on the internet.  Warning!  More is never enough.  The hunger is not stilled and the thirst for life is not quenched.  “I can’t get no satisfaction and I’ve tried and I’ve tried” (Mick Jagger). “More” is never enough.

Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman at the well when He was thirsty and the Lord He spoke of water that will fill the soul.  The heart is such a spacious thing that even 600 worlds can not fill it.  We live in a “consumer culture” in which obsolescence is planned so that the items we buy will wear out quickly so we can buy a new product.  But our fellow humans know themselves and us quite well:  we actually want more and more, so yeah, let it wear out, I want something new.  We live in a “consumer society”.  Even people are consumables in sexual lusts and “conquests”.  Even people are consumables, stepping stones for our ambitions for ‘life’. People get used and then worn out The Samaritan woman had 5 husbands and her current man was not her husband.  The Samaritan woman had quite a thirst!  The crowd had a quite a hunger. Note that in the conversation with the Samaritan women, and in His preaching today, there is not a hint of condemnation from Jesus.  Jesus does not condemn her nor them because He came not to condemn the world but that the world be saved through Him (John 3:17).  He offered them Himself. He is divine love made food, made life for man.

Christ’s bread is the meal of His Word and it is not a TV dinner. It is not a TV dinner for our own private nourishment. It’s not about putting on the feed bag.  We are men and women not horses.  We were made and redeemed to dine with each other in Christ Jesus, the Host. We weren’t made then redeemed to dine alone.  I came across an ad on Facebook for a beer festival at a Roman Catholic Shrine of St. Anthony, with “Divine Food, Divine Beer” called “Revive”.  That’s about right:  revive. The ad has a typo, this festival is at “The Shine of St. Anthony”. We need to be revived and so shine with Christ’s own light every week and day, fed by His almighty Hand, both bread for the body and bread for the soul.  We are encouraged from God’s Word in Ephesians, I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness… so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

“You are what you eat”.  This was first said by a German materialist philosopher.  Yet, it is also a Christian understanding as we hear the Lord’s sermon in John 6 beginning today and for the next two Sundays. In the Bible the food that man eats, the world of which he must partake in order to live, is given to him by God, and it is given as communion with God. John 6 is about Christ Who is the divine love made bread, made life for man, inviting others to His Table. In fact the whole Bible points to the Bread of Life.  “Perishable food is transformed into the body which eats it;  this food, however, transforms the person who eats it into what it is itself, and makes him like itself, spiritual, alive, and eternal.”  (Martin Luther)

They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Lord, give us this bread always. 

The invitation stands: Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

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