Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost August 16, 2015
Our fond memories often involve food. When we’re stressed, we are inclined to crave the food that comforted us when we were children, safe at home. These comfort foods fill our bellies, and they also satisfy the emotional hunger that has resulted from the worries of our adult lives. Our comfort foods are different for each of us, but they often involve some kind of bread: the smell of Mom’s homemade yeast rolls fresh from the oven or of hot biscuits dripping with butter are a couple of examples.
Bread is a basic element in the diet of nearly every culture; so Jesus’ words, “I am the bread of life,” evoke an image that resonates with followers of Jesus Christ worldwide. But while bread may be a comfort food for us, those words were far from comforting for the skeptical, questioning crowds to whom Jesus spoke.
Jesus, who often used rich poetic images in his teaching, was introducing a new “menu item” to the spiritual diet of his listeners, and a lot of them weren’t sure they wanted to sample the offered feast. Those words were shocking! “Eat his flesh? Drink his blood? No thanks! Let’s stick with what we’re accustomed to.”
But Jesus didn’t intend for his words to be comforting. Jesus wanted his listeners—and he wants us—to understand that his own life and his own sacrifice have to be the fundamental elements of our spiritual diet. If we continue to take comfort in what the world offers, our spirits will starve.
Psalm 34:8 gives us the words, “Taste and see that the LORD is good.” When we recognize that Jesus is basic to our lives, we will always crave the “comfort food” that he has prepared for us.
Willie Israel, pastor, Rolling Hills Moravian Church, Longwood, Florida