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“Listen, so that you may live.”
God offers abundant life to us all. “Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!” However, we sometimes choose un-life, life “lite,” almost life. In our desire for “more,” we end up choosing less. Obsessed with making fluffier, identical loaves of bread, we bleach flour of its nutrients; in making “more” grain to make “more” bread, we genetically modify our wheat. “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?” Instead of giving our money for bread “lite,” God calls us to feast and delight ourselves in “rich food.” Instead of relegating the labor of creating “almost bread” to lab technicians and machines, perhaps God calls us each to seek the satisfaction that comes from our own labor.
The passage from Isaiah does not simply commend us to make better decisions at the grocery store, to make our own bread or grow our own gardens. God beckons us, “Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.” Abundant life does not simply come from a good loaf of bread, but rather comes from intimate relationship with God, which God establishes in holy covenant with us. Only in deeply listening to God will we hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit, as we attempt to live in harmony with the rhythm of the seasons and in caring relationship with our sisters and brothers.
Until we invite God’s ways and thoughts into conversation with our own, we will continue to wallow in our “almost life.” We will continue to eat bread which leaves our bodies wanting, which leaves our fields wanting.
As Derek noted last week, the whole of creation is hoping, groaning, left wanting – for its own fulfillment. As in Jesus’ parable of the young fig tree which had not yet borne fruit, we heed the words of the gardener to wait awhile longer while he puts manure down.
While we hope for God’s fulfillment of God’s purposes in creation, we listen intimately to God, we celebrate those places where we see glimpses of that fulfillment (in mature trees bearing fruit, in loaves of nutritious bread), and we do the good work to which God calls us. We lay down the manure, we advocate for grocery stores to be built in “food deserts,” we build community gardens. All this, so that we may echo God’s words, “Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!”
We hope that you are finding the nourishment you need to continue the practice(s) you have taken up these 40 days of Lent, and we pray that your practices are nourishing you and your relationship with God and others.
Some new ideas for practices to take up this week, or later on:
- Create your own “manure” of sorts, by saving your kitchen’s fruit and vegetable waste, grass clippings, and leaves, and beginning a compost bin. Compost bins need not be complicated, expensive, smelly, nor must you have outdoor space (you can buy boxes of worms to do the job for you inside!).
- “You that have no money,” try out dumpster diving. Make a dash to the grocery store, bakery, or restaurant as they’re closing and taking out the trash (or any other time), and check out the bags stuffed with just-expired items.
- Advocate for grocery stores to be established in food deserts. Food Security Partners of Middle Tennessee (link to the left) is running a campaign called “Re/Storing Nashville.” There, you can share your own “grocery story.”
- Buy a loaf of nourishing bread at a local bakery such as Great Harvest.
- Start a garden where you live, or help out with a community garden. They’re popping up all around Nashville.
(from The Evangelical Reformed Churches in German-speaking Switzerland, 1972)
Lord, you love life; we owe our existence to you. Give us reverence for life and love for every creature. Sharpen our senses so that we shall recognize the beauty and also the longing of your creation, and, as befits your children, treat our fellow creatures of the animal and plant kingdoms with love as our brothers and sisters, in readiness for your great day, when you will make all things new.
Authored by Jessica Bridges on behalf of Eco-Concerns