Wednesday, 14 January 2015
Strange Foods at the Feast
“What do you mean by ‘feasting on Christ’?” That’s a question I’m getting a lot these days.
I have to admit, the title of this blog sounds a little strange. Esoteric at best. Cannibalistic at worst. At least it seems to be a feast spread with some very strange food. And if you’re like me, strange food is not what you automatically turn to when you’re hungry.
Some years ago my husband and I were invited to join friends at a Riverdance concert. They had fabulous tickets, so close we could watch their feet fly and feel the stage shake under their thundering precision. It turned out we were not only being treated to the show, but also to dinner beforehand at a place billed “Best New Restaurant in San Francisco” for that year. It was going to be a great night.
I was starved when I opened my menu so everything looked good to me. But when I read the descriptions nothing sounded good. In fact nothing sounded familiar. A steak dish was explained in words I didn’t even know. If their strategy was to pique my appetite, it wasn’t working!
I looked up and was met by puzzled glances from the other members of our party. About then my husband returned to the table. “I just saw the Best New Restaurant award in the hallway. This place is vegan.”
With apologies to my vegan friends, we ate, but we didn’t feast. I was still kind of hungry when I left.
The same thing is true spiritually. I’m always feeding on something, and that something soon begins to taste familiar. The familiar then turns around and conditions my appetite for future feedings. For example, I find myself
- feeding on compliments –do they like me? what did they say about me?
- feeding on controversy–following a fight on talk radio or in the blog world
- feeding on what’s trending–trying to stay up to date on media, clothes, ideas
- feeding on busyness–productivity, activity, or whatever makes me feel alive
In all of these I find I’m really feeding on myself. My bottom line question is “how am I doing?” Or “Am I in the loop? Who knows me? Who likes me? Am I wonderful yet?”
My portable devices support this habit. I pick up my phone to check the time and see this, “So and so @twitter followed you!” Really? That’s amazing! This announcement acts like an appetizer to my feast of self, so I make the rounds–Facebook, twitter, pinterest–looking for more goodies.
The only problem is I’m still hungry when I leave.
There was another meal where another host offered his guests some food. At the last Passover meal that Jesus celebrated with his disciples, he took bread, blessed it, and broke off pieces to hand to each of them,
“Take, eat; this is my body.” Matthew 26:26
Moments later he passed around the traditional cup of Passover wine,
“Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:27-28
With those words he offered them and us better food at a better feast. He offered his perfect life, lived to satisfy the law of love for God and man. He is the bread we’re meant to feed on. His life is my success. And he also offered his coming death, the atoning sacrifice to which every Passover lamb had been pointing. His death is my forgiveness. It’s the clean slate I need everyday.
I’m meant to satisfy my hungry soul again and again with Jesus, who he is and what he has done. But as I walk around this world, texting and tweeting and shopping and crazy busy, I don’t see him. I can’t seem to find him. Where can I go to find him again?
On the day he exited the tomb Jesus made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of the bread and in the Scriptures. That’s where I’ll find him, too. I have to wait until Sunday to see him in the broken bread and the preached word, but I can find him everyday in my Bible.
That’s why I come to my Bible– to feast on Christ. It’s strange food that will become familiar the more I eat it. It’s the food that will change my very appetite. I describe it as:
- Seeing Jesus–a person, not a principle. A person who knows me completely and loves me to death.
- Tasting Grace–the puzzle that God’s goodies are free to me because he paid for them all.
- Hearing Good News–the proclamation that everything I think I need to do to be OK has already been done by him.
I hope that answers your question. See you at the feast.