Tumbling in the Sand
The texts for Sunday August 16, 2015 (12th Sunday after Pentecost, Lectionary 20): Proverbs 9:1-6; Psalm 34:9-14; Ephesians 5:15-20; and John 6:51-58
all you in search of insight
in search of faith
in search of hope
in search of life
Drink of the wine of Lady Wisdom
the blood of the lamb
the essence of life eternal
the Spirit of God.
Drink and be full —
find joy in the Spirit
thankfulness of heart
the reckless abandon of faith
the foolishness of hope
the outrageousness of holy insight …
Drink and live.
Bread is the most practical of things
and has filled the texts for the last few weeks
and this week, too.
And … next week, too.
Good and practical and reasonable and basic and necessary.
But this week, the texts suddenly pour forth with wine
Wine of feasting
Blood of life
Drunk on the Spirit
Which is anything but practical or basic or reasonable.
In fact, I don’t know about you,
but I have noticed that wine, that drinking
tends to make one a little foolish
a little less inhibited
a little less worried about the practical or the reasonable or the basic.
And maybe, maybe, just for a moment, that is the point
Maybe, in reality, life abundant
life in the Spirit
life grounded in the Holy
life of and in a faithful community
doesn’t always make a whole lot of sense
doesn’t always follow the rules
doesn’t always seem particularly wise
or practical or reasonable or basic.
Instead, it tends to be like Lady Wisdom
exuberantly preparing a feast, pouring out her riches to anyone who will come
or it’s like faithful people singing together hymns and songs and psalms,
laughing in praise and joy at the simple delight of music
or it’s like the unreasonable thankfulness at the fullness of life
even when things are not going according to plan
or it’s like taking the words of Jesus — insane sounding though they are
and believing the unbelievable
trusting the un-trustable
and finding in that eternal life.
I wonder if the wisdom to which God calls us in the feast
spread with good food and mixed wine
is a wisdom that calls us away from
things that make our lives small
— the limitations we set to stay only in the practical
— the injustices we accept as okay just so we can get by, living a little less in the process letting others live a little less, too
— the little deaths we die as we stifle God’s dreams and visions rising in us because they scare and challenge us to grow
What if the feast of wisdom is to turn away from these things that make us so small?
Perhaps this being filled in the Spirit
is about filling our time with the impractical works of God
— that is,
the works of faith and hope and joy and love
the works of justice and reconciliation and generosity and thankfulness
the works of dreams and visions
the works of song and celebration and abiding in the author of life
Which, by the way, are not the works that the crowd listening to Jesus
were interested in.
They came for bread. For the basic, the practical, the reasonable— the necessary, yes
but not as necessary as they thought.
And how are we, like them, seeking after only the basic? The practical?
Believing faith and risk and vision and hope to be impractical? Impossible? Unreasonable?
We are not that different than them—just give us bread, Jesus. Just feed us the basics.
Just let us live our lives.
Instead, what they got was Jesus—the infinite contained in finite flesh,
Instead, what we get is Jesus—impractical, foolishly wise, God turning the world upside down
who fed them, to be sure,
who feeds us — no doubt —
but who calls to something fuller, something more alive, something more free
Something far from reasonable and practical and basic.
And so, at this table,
where we gather and receive bread—good, necessary, basic, practical for life
we receive wine, too—an invitation to abundance, to more, to the impractical beauty of faith
to unreasonable, impossible life in the intoxicating Spirit
that overflows even the practicality of death itself,
emptying the grave
and filling life eternally.