Please forgive me for yet another food based post! It just so happens that this one has been in my mind for a while now and I feel it has reached the front of the queue.
Oddly, today’s post ends up in a landscape rather like that of my last post, but the journey began with a reflection on Matthew 5:6.
Jesus said: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6
This is a wonderful invitation! Again we tend to react to this in the same way we react to a spoonful of something unpleasant. We reluctantly take it and swallow it down with lots of water in order to get the yummy pudding that is conditional on us eating the ‘healthy’ (aka: yucky) bit. We eat to merit blessing.
But isn’t the joy and blessedness on offer here the very experience of being filled with righteousness? The treat is the righteousness.
In one sense, as a Christian, I do not ‘need’ to hunger and thirst for righteousness. As someone in Christ I have HIS righteousness. It is like I am on a drip being fed intravenously with the righteousness of Jesus. I certainly do not need to go out hunting for righteousness, daily foraging, gathering enough in order to survive another day, to stay fit and healthy enough for heaven. Righteousness is ours in Jesus.
As Christians, we are not starving beggars desperate for any scrap of righteousness. We do not hunger and thirst without hope – frantically searching around for our next meal. Our hunger and thirst for righteousness is not a fearful, gnawing hunger and a parching thirst.
Nor are we successful and independent righteousness producers smugly feasting from the abundance of our home-grown, organic righteousness.
No! By grace, we are abundantly provided for as children of the King, we feast at his table.
The challenge is – do we feast? Is the one who hungers and thirsts for righteousness the one who has taken a bite of something offered to them and been completely amazed at how delicious it is. Of one who has once tasted righteousness and eve since then developed an ever more eager hunger and an ever more desperate thirst for MORE!
Could the call to hunger and thirst for righteousness be a call to enjoy the most delicious flavour known to man? To crave righteousness in our life, to experience it more and more, to long for it, to savour it, and to feast on it?
I am put in mind of the turkish delight Edmund is given in ‘The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe’. It is a rather odd illustration of the point, however, because Edmund is given this enchanted treat by the evil White Witch in order to entrap him, driving him mad for more so that he does what she wants. Her promise is something like: Blessed is the one who does what I want for he will be filled with turkish delight and hot chocolate. The hunger and the thirst are forced upon him by magic, and the promise itself is empty. The filling is never delivered – once she has him where she wants him he is lucky to get some bread and water.
Not so with God’s people, not so with God’s promises and not so with God’s delights. The food God invites us to crave is wholesome and wonderful – for he is the true ruler, the one and only majestically good King. And by his grace we will crave more and more of it not because sorcery is at work in the food, but because the his Holy Spirit is at work in our hearts.