Tuesday, April 01, 2014

It's Lent: Bon Appetit!

Meditation on Scripture assigned for today, written for a parish meditation booklet, sponsored by The Pilgrimage at Saint James' Episcopal Church, Marietta GA.

1 Corinthians 11.22  What!  Do you not have houses to eat and drink in?

Isn't it funny?  For April Fool’s Day, in a season of fasting, two readings draw attention to the stomach, our body's practical joker.  My stomach's prompting me right now to stop meditating and fix breakfast.  He loves parties.   At work, he nudges us to get out with others for a bite. He emits funny sounds before meals. What he emits after meals gets big laughs at school, suppressed reactions at church committee meetings.

Paul isn’t laughing.  He scolds Christians for arriving at church hungry to scarf up bread and wine.  He says to eat at home and to observe proper restraint at the Lord’s table.

We at Saint James’ are more like Jesus in today’s Gospel, the convivial host who won’t send 4000 people away hungry.  I know long-time parishioners who came to us first for a meal – a reception, or our famous breakfast, “the best deal in town.”  Our Sunday morning worship feeds all our senses, and our minds.       

Despite Paul’s admonition, we ought to consider coming to church hungry. Lent is our season for remembering the edge to our faith that may have dulled with self-satisfaction, for acknowledging that we may stuff our days with matters that don’t matter.       

A hunger for something draws me sometimes to our Sunday evensong.  The empty nave echoes the chants and prayers of worshippers who fit comfortably in the choir.  With no organ, no sermon, sometimes no clergy, this and our daily morning prayer are our most austere services.  Yet they somehow feed us.  With what?  Silence that sharpens awareness of God?  Comfort in ritual?  Being with others while alone with our thoughts?  For whatever reason, those who show up, even now and then, feel a pang when they miss it.Paul should consider how a church can be stronger for hosting those who hunger for something they can’t get at home.

Psalm  97, 99, [100]   94, [95]
Gen. 49:29-50:14        
1 Cor. 11:17-34           
Mark 8:1-10                                                    

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