Thursday, March 25, 2010

bread that satisfies

Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy, and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.

As I mentioned previously, part of my focus for this Lenten season has been Christ as the Bread of Life. By choosing to fast from bread, I have sought to understand more fully the only sustenance that I truly need. I have sought to consider and set aside all those earthly pleasures through which I so often seek my satisfaction and worth.
Why do you spend your money
for that which is not bread,

and your labor,

for that which does not satisfy?

Listen diligently to me,

and eat what is good,

and delight yourselves in rich food.

Incline your ear, and come to me;

hear, that your soul may live.

So often I spend my money, my labor, and my time on that which is not the true Bread of Life, attempting to feed my soul with that which does not satisfy. Often this temptation comes in the form of relationships or food. For me this temptation most often comes in the form of schedule, routine, and discipline. I seek my sense of worth, my pleasure, my satisfaction, my bread, in my ability to live up to my own self-imposed standards.
And so this time of Lent has been a time set aside for repentance, for turning away and forsaking those things that I so often rely on for my sustenance, for abstaining from those movies and books that I turn to for a quick fix of pleasure, for learning to live the day God has given me rather than seeking my worth in controlling my schedule, for learning to love others out of self-sacrifice rather than seeking them to satisfy my own insecurities, for realizing again the abundant grace of God, knowing that the bread and wine, his body and blood, are truly all that I need.
Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;

let the wicked forsake his way,

and the unrighteous man his thoughts;

let him return to the Lord,
that he may
have compassion on him,
and to our God,

for he will abundantly pardon.

And yet, with repentance, I often feel a sense of despair over my own lack of progress. I expect myself to change and yet I fall back into my old ways. However, I read somewhere recently, that when we repent we must always "seek out the promise." We must remember that God hears our prayers of repentance and will continue the work he has begun in us. We must remember that he is planting seeds within us that will sprout and grow and accomplish all of his purposes. We must remember that when we ask for the Bread of Life, he promises to nourish us with what is good and rich.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,

making it break forth and sprout,

giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,

so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;

it shall not return to me empty,

but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,

and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

(Isaiah 55:1-3, 6-7, 10-11)