November 7, 2011

Were The Rolling Stones Right?

"Consumption" - Painting by Julia Sonmi Heglund

When I think of November, I first think about Thanksgiving.
I think that Thanksgiving is the holiday in America that receives the reputation for having the most food. We mark our thankfulness with a feast. I know that when I picture Thanksgiving I picture a table filled with food, and festive drinks - a feast of flavors, and aromas.

This beautiful feast, that takes many hours to prepare, is often devoured quickly and many are left on the couch for the football game and a good nap with pants that seem tighter than when the day began. No matter how much we eat and drink, and how full we make ourselves, many of us will find that we are hungry and thirsty again - maybe a late night turkey sandwich snack is desired!

It is human nature. We will be hungry again. We will be thirsty again. But I am talking about more than a late night snack or our need for basic nutrition. We will always want more! We are consummate consumers! Can we ever be completely and comfortably satisfied?

We have all heard the saying, "You are what you eat." This phrase indicates that what we eat, what we consume, what we bring into our lives, makes a difference in how we feel, how we treat people, and even who we are. What are the things in life that we are consuming? What are we filling our lives with? What images? What activities? What relationships? Do these things really satisfy us? Are they satisfying our deepest needs?

I think that we thirst and hunger for love, intimacy, security, acceptance, and truth. We thirst and hunger for ways to satisfy these needs, but often we make choices, meager choices, that don't really satisfy. Were The Rolling Stones right? - "We can't get no satisfaction, even though we try and we try and we try."

You and I have tremendous choices today, don't we? We choose and choose and we try and try, but our choices rarely stay with us. But….we have a God who chooses us. We have a God that stays with us. God knows the bad choices that we make. God knows our vulnerabilities. God knows our desires and God wants to fill us - fill us with what we truly need. We need that crazy love that can only come from God - a God that breaks into our lives and fills us with the refreshing life giving love and hope that comes through Jesus Christ.

Remember that Jesus was human, deeply human, with the same sets of physical cravings that each of us knows today. Think about this: The creator of the rivers and seas came to be one of us and felt what it was like to need - to be thirsty and hungry. Jesus became human and felt the hurts, the pains, the desires just like we do. We can never say we have a distant larger-than-life figure who would never understand what we feel. God knows. Jesus was one of us. We have a God who knows us more than we can ever imagine; A God who loves us and has given His life so that we can spend eternity with Him; A God who knows what we feel because He has felt these same things; A God who wants to engage in relationship with us in our everyday life. We hear in the Gospel of John, On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

On Good Friday, on the cross, Jesus' thirst is our thirst. "I thirst," Jesus said, and he took the thirst and hunger of the entire human condition to God.That is the truth also revealed on the cross. Of all the endless varieties of ways we humans devise to quench our need to consume, none of them satisfy. The true satisfaction comes from a face-to-face encounter with God. This is satisfaction. The old choices will die. God provides living water. God raises us up to new life, just like God raised up Jesus from the dead, no longer thirsty and hungry, but spilling forth water and blood for the salvation of the world.
We have new life in Christ - a life full of complete satisfaction.


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