Monday, March 09, 2009

Jeremiah 1:11-19, Psalms 56, 57 & 58, Romans 1:1-15, John 4:27-42

The Gospel of John (4:27-42) includes an interesting statement from Christ about food: “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me, and to complete his work.” Food is a powerful symbol in our lives: on a strictly physical level, it is what keeps us alive. On a social level, it is often used as a way to build and nurture relationships. It is also used to build and sustain community through ritual “meals” of a celebratory as well as other nature. It’s about nourishment, sustenance, and connection on many levels. When food is problematic in our lives (e.g. through obesity, anorexia, binge eating, etc.) it’s a considerable problem, because food is and must be critical to our lives: for our physical health, if for no other reason. So what about Christ’s comment? For Christ, doing the will of God and His work clearly sustains him, keeps him “alive,” gives him purpose, is his “food.” It’s a much broader use of “food” than we generally use. It bypasses the physical, biological, cellular need for food, and says that what really keeps us alive is the purpose of our individual lives. If that’s the case for us – as it was for Christ – then there’s an important question for us to ask ourselves. What really sustains us spiritually as we cruise through life – through the highs and lows, the celebrations, the grieving, the life cycle changes of ourselves and those we love – and how is that reflected in the texture of our lives? It’s about the spiritual “glue” of our lives and how that connects to our ultimate purpose. The ultimate question, then, is about our spiritual diet: what is it we are “eating” and how “healthfully” does it sustain us?

--NJC

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