Thursday, July 30, 2009

When Being Fed Is More Than Food

This week's scriptures are Psalm 78:23-29 and John 6:24-35.

I hope that you'll read Jeremy's blog below before you read this one. I found his blog amazing in a number of ways; one of which is that it is such a wonderful lead in to what I'd like to talk about that it couldn't be better if we had planned it...and I assure you, we didn't.

The people in John's passage come looking for Jesus and are confronted with Jesus' statement that they are looking for the wrong thing. Phrases like "more than this" and "beyond the miracle" could easily be attached to our discussion. Jesus is inviting them, and us, to look beyond the 'important' to the 'imperative'.

This passage can remind us that we all too often fall prey to what C.S. Lewis called "Christianity And..." He described this as the situation when we get focused on Christianity as a way to some other goal; whether that goal is Feeding the Poor or Global Peace. Pretty soon we make Feeding the Poor our focus and Christianity just a way to get there.

Please don't get me wrong; I believe that feeding the poor is important and global peace a goal worth striving for. And my relationship with God in Christ leads me to work for both of these things. But listen to the word of the Psalm talking about the manna in the desert: "Mortals ate of the bread of angels," and "they ate and were filled. for God gave them what they craved."

Now look at Jeremy's description of his meal again. This is much more than food. It is, if we believe that "where two or three are gathered in My name, I am present" it is also a place where God is. It is a 'filling' that goes beyond food. Jesus invites you and me to more than world peace or feeding the hungry or rehabilitating the criminal or caring for our neighbors in West Virginia. Though each of these things can be an outgrowth of what Jesus offers us, the thing that we are offered is a relationship. This is the "bread of angels" it is "giving us what we crave" because it is in relationship with God that we are truly "filled."

This week's lectionary reading begins a series of weeks in which we're looking at Jesus talking about himself as bread. Let's explore this together as we think about what it means to be truly filled...truly "eat the bread of angels"...of those who live in the presence of God.

See you Sunday.

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