The Time That Is Given Us



Readings from Sunday 8-19-2018

THE BREAD OF LIFE

Proverbs 9:1-6

To those without sense she says,
“Come, eat of my bread
and drink of the wine I have mixed.

I’m all over the map today. At first I thought my role might be that of Wisdom, building a house and calling to “those without sense” to come in. Then vertigo set in, the world whirled sideways, and there I was standing there stupidly trying to figure out where the voice came from that was calling to me. How about this?— “Without sense” might mean someone “who’s got no sense” but it might just as well mean someone who just can’t make sense of anything. How many times have we heard someone say that “nothing makes sense anymore”? Hello.



Psalm 34:9-14

13 Keep your tongue from evil-speaking *
and your lips from lying words.

But what if my words aren’t a lie? What if my words are not evil in intent, but instead lay bare the truth of an evil? Is that what I’ve been doing, shutting my teeth on honest words for no better reason than because I don’t want to be a whiner? I’m not sure of anything much, except that something hurts deep inside, near my diaphragm. There’s a wheezing ache near the bellows that works my breath, and a salty leak around my window frames. I don’t know if keeping my mouth shut is making things better, or worse.



Ephesians 5:15-20

..making the most of the time, because the days are evil.

I keep hearing my grandmother’s voice from beyond the veil: “There’s no help for it,” she would say in answer to my childhood griefs. The words I’ve been biting off arch their backs and strain to hold my heart’s swollen weight. My neck cramps and my shoulder blades buckle under the load.

Did anybody ever ask Paul why? Why do the evil days need us to make the most of our time?

Oops, Gandalf just showed up and said quietly over my right shoulder, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” He sounds like my grandmother. She really did sympathize, just as Gandalf did: “I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide.”  Am I in good company amongst all those who’ve lived to see such times? Should I go looking for those who are making the most of the time that is given to us, and offer my help? I’m pretty much done with waiting for them to come to me.



John 6:51-58

..my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.

The theology is not the point here. The point is that human beings eat and drink each other to stay alive. We always have. God is not separate from flesh and blood, off in some whispery realm of airy spirits. Nope. God is in the middle of everything and we are in the middle of God. Of course we eat, drink, breathe, stand on, lie down on, and are infused with God, the Source of all things, and our original Element. You know the saying, “I was in my element”? One dictionary describes it as “being in one’s natural abode.” Whether we understand, or are even aware of this aboriginal state “makes no never mind,” which is another phrase of my grandmother’s.  It’s just a fact, plain and simple.

In Jesus’s day all bread was fermented; in other words, sourdough bread. Wine is fermented too. In our day there is a great springing of understanding about the health benefits of fermented foods. Back then, yeast was not provided in sterile little red and white packages, but permeated the world, and arrived invisibly and mysteriously in the form of sour-smelling bubbles that worked an earthy and inexplicable magic; a kind of sacred transformation of plain ingredients into more than simple sustenance. One of Jesus’s most significant parables compared God’s realm to that same yeast— that leaven that lightens, excites, alleviates, increases, arises, breathes. It’s God’s breath that makes the whole world alive. There is a profound meaning in the simple fact that if we mix flour, water and salt with a little honey added and leave it sit awhile, it will begin to bubble; and if we then sink our hands into it— roll it, lean on it, flip it, form it, and then bake it, it becomes a feast for all the senses. When we eat it, it gives life.



Being Christ—

Not complicated.



Just

Be food.

Get fermented.

Bubble up.

Rise.

Get light.

Taste good.

Be lively.

Get real.

Make sense.

Breathe.

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