To be human is to be hungry. All children are hungry. They are born hungry. Most children are always hungry. Some children are starving. It is terrifying to see a starving child. It is more terrifying to be a starving child. Starvation is horrible. To be without food is hell.
To have experienced the Christ, to have encountered Jesus of Nazareth, to have run head-long into the person of God in the flesh must have been like stepping into the path of a hurricane. No one would do it intentionally. Human beings do not seek out hurricanes. Hurricanes happen. Suddenly. Often without much warning. If we can avoid "being there", we do. If we can't, we don't. Its really almost as simple as that. To experience the Christ is to run head-long into the path of a hurricane. Jesus said: Man cannot live by bread alone. He said that to hungry human beings. He said that to starving children. Yet, Jesus was criticized for eating with publicans and sinners, and going among the people eating and drinking, for being a winebibber, for eating grain on the Sabbath, for eating when he was hungry and sleeping when he was tired. He was criticized by hungry human beings. He was chastised by starving children.
On the other hand, for forty days and forty nights, Jesus was without food. He told Martha that she was too concerned with food. He said: when you are without food, wash your face. He said: you are too worried about what you shall eat and drink. He sent his disciples out without food and, on the cross, he refused a sponge filled with vinegar and hyssop.
Jesus ate and drank. And he didn't eat and drink. He was something of a paradox in regards to hunger and fulfillment. Curiously enough, what has been called the extension of the Body of Christ - the Church - eats and drinks and it doesn't eat and drink. The Church feasts and the Church fasts. The central act of the Church is a common meal. The ultimate mythical fulfillment of the Church is a heavenly banquet. The Church is something of a paradox when it comes to hunger and fulfillment.
To be human is to be hungry. Most children are always hungry. Some children are starving. Starvation is horrible. To be without food is hell.
To be the Christ, to be Jesus of Nazareth, to be the person of God incarnate must be like being the eye of a hurricane. The eye of a hurricane is its focus, its power, the apparently unmoving force that instigates the terrible headwind. The hurricane's eye is self-contained and calm. yet the experience of the hurricane itself is scattered, disassembling, chaotic, violent motion.
The action of God in history is something of a paradox. One of our hymns reflects this disturbing paradox when it says: The peace of God - it is no peace - but strife sown in the sod...
St. Peter appears to have found the peace of God in an upside-down cross. Human beings do not intentionally seek out upside-down crosses. Upside-down crosses happen. Suddenly. Often without warning. If we can avoid, "being there", we do. If we can't, we don't. It's really almost as simple as that.
God's action in history is something of a paradox as regards to hunger and fulfillment. Is is true that 5,000 people who have run headlong into the path of a hurricane and who are hungry for food and starving for peace can have their hunger sated, their very guts which have been torn apart healed? And, if it is conceivable, can it happen through the vehicles of a few fish, a little bread, and a Word? Frankly, I don't know. But I can't say that I don't care, because I do. I care terribly. After all, I'm very hungry. And I am caught in the headwind of a hurricane.
Christ have mercy upon me.
And Jesus had compassion upon the 5,000 for he saw that they had been with him the whole day and were very hungry.
Lord, have mercy upon me.
And so he asked a little boy (who else?) to share his food with them. And from the hands of a child they were fed. Children are nice. Jesus likes children.
Christ have mercy upon me.
Starvation is horrible. To be without food is hell.
Maranatha. Lord come.
Human beings do not seek out hurricanes. Hurricanes happen.
Lord now lettest thou they servent depart in peace.
And because Jesus had compassion upon them, and because the little boy had some fish, and because the eye of the hurricane enveloped them, they ate and were filled and went home. It was not very spectacular, but then, what is? It appears that Jesus simply left it at that. And then he took a deep breath of fresh air and went back to being a fugitive. Amen.