Bread for the Journey -- Dcn. Sue
Bread for the Journey
In our readings today, we hear from Nathan giving King David a coming to meet God moment since David met his desires and took his Uriah's wife. We also hear from the gospel that we thrive on getting our needs met, as Jesus says, "You are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves." And following a worldly cause, person, or desire begins where we stray from God's spiritual path.
What I love is the opening of King David's and the disciple's eyes. David announces he has sinned against the Lord, and the disciples are now asking, almost demanding the eternal bread to sustain them forever. In these two different passages of scripture, we glimpse a realization of the bond of God pulling us ever more closely to the Divine. We taste and see.
The message of hope is knowing we sometimes follow our worldly needs rather than God's path toward righteousness or wholeness. God offers the messenger Nathan to educate King David and confess his sin. God the Father gives us the Son to bring us the food from heaven. We are nourished with love.
Richard Rohr says this plainly.
"If love is the soul of Christian existence, it must be at the heart of every other Christian virtue. Thus, for example, justice without love is legalism; faith without love is ideology; hope without love is self-centeredness; forgiveness without love is self-abasement; fortitude without love is recklessness; generosity without love is extravagance; care without love is mere duty; fidelity without love is servitude. Every virtue is an expression of love. No virtue is really a virtue unless it is permeated, or informed, by love."
David loved selfishly. The disciples ate their fill and desired more.
In psychology's simplest explanation of our needs, Maslow offers that at the base of our needs are food, water, warmth, and rest.
The second level has safety and security. The third level is where people learn to love in the sense of all different kinds of love; romantic, friendship, and familial love.
Between Rohr's spiritual understanding of what love is about and Maslow's hierarchy, we cannot love until we are fed, sheltered, and rested with a sense of security. Love isn't the first level of need in our world. It is third. God reminds us today that there is enough of stuff and to turn to eternal love.
The bread from heaven is more than enough. It is in the tasting of the goodness that we crave and desire more.
What does our faith say about living bread? It says taste and see. Be filled with the generousness of living bread in our Lord Jesus. No matter how many are to be fed, there is enough for you and your neighbor. See that this bread is to be shared for all. Once you have your fill, fill others with that same gift.
Jesus knows we have been challenged by hunger, are today distracted by hunger, and will constantly be challenged by this same hunger. When we put Christ first and see the abundance waiting for us, we can go forward on the path to invite others to taste and see.
We are equipped with the power God has given to us.
Our Baptismal Love blesses us and readies us as we learn from our scriptures, feed from Christ's body, gather as a community, pray for ourselves and our neighbors, cry out "why?" and above all reach with our hearts and hands to help and love our neighbor as ourselves, selflessly.
We do this as the Holy Spirit dwells in us, and we do it because most of us have achieved the first three levels of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Most of us can feel accomplished. We can self-actualize the Kingdom of God, but only in glimpses.
The Spirit guides us on this path. Jesus is in the bread today and makes the Kingdom more present. God told Nathan to talk with David, and tells us not to squander the power of love on selfish desires but to use it selflessly. David's confession is testimony for us today to question our motivations and discern what we as a body of Christ are to do selflessly for ourselves and our neighbors.
"Give us this day our daily bread," is a demand in the middle of our Lord's Prayer. We need God, we need the bread of life, we need, but God all the more needs us to spread the Kingdom and fills us to reach out.
Be the daily bread to one another.