March 7, 2014

Knowing hunger

By Kathryn Schmidt, assistant professor of music
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 4:1-11 (NRSV)
DEVOTIONAL:

Jesus knows hunger. Deep, gnawing hunger – the kind that would send most of us speeding through the nearest drive-thru, rummaging through the fridge with shaky hands, sifting through the compost, even. Drastic, painful hunger.

My comfortable lifestyle (and lack of discipline, to be honest) does not grant me a familiarity with this kind of hunger. But there’s another type of hunger I know very well. A hunger for love, vocational fulfillment, the safety of my family, financial security. First world hunger, the kind that goes with privilege. It’s a hunger of deficit – the space between what is, and what we want.

The crucial difference between Jesus’ behavior in this passage and my own approach to hunger is this: Jesus allows his hunger to propel him INTO God, whereas mine frequently drives me away from God. Jesus’ loneliness and pain in this passage only serves to strengthen his resolve. Rather than becoming weak, fearful and lacking in conviction, the opposite is true. In his pain, Jesus becomes strong. In his hunger, Jesus’ connection to his Creator, his True Parent, solidifies.

My tendency during periods of hunger? Much fist-shaking, questioning, wondering “God, my God, where are you?” Desiring my freezer to be filled with God’s manna, in labeled Tupperware containers. Begging for more signs, more answers, more promises.

“God, I want more!” The response? “I know, my child.” “God, I want security, a future, a hope!” “I know, my child.” “God, I’m hungry!” “I know, my child.”

May we, this Lenten season, allow our own hungers to strengthen our resolve. May we choose deeper unity with the One who knows our pain and welcomes us with open arms.

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 4:1-11 (NRSV)

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted 40 days and 40 nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.

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Comments (8)

  1. Your message today strikes a very familiar chord. I guess this Lenten Season, I need to keep on working and trusting until the answer arrives… Thank you. Mary

    Mary Hughes March 7, 2014 |
  2. What a thought-provoking and challenging devotional! Brutally honest, this piece inspires me to examine my own hungers. Thanks!

    Randy J. Roth March 7, 2014 |
  3. Kathryn, your message really resonated with me on many levels, I am involved in an ongoing work in Haiti that leaves me constantly hungering for God’s next provision and direction. It also touches the places in my American life, like over eating to fill the various “hungers”, in which I have need of good reminders of what drives my hungers and Who fills my hungers. Your message reminds me to stay the same course here that I am compelled to do in Haiti. Thank you.

    Diana Thomas March 7, 2014 |
  4. Is it because we are both musicians that your message so resonates with me? Oh those hungers!
    From desiring relief from my husband’s pain to making my fingers do what the music calls for.
    Thank you. (And how do you like the word resonate?!

    Pat Zavadil March 7, 2014 |
  5. Thank you Kathryn — may you be filled with the hunger and thirst for righteousness and may you find great satisfaction in whatever you do in life.

    Norm Morford March 7, 2014 |
  6. Thank you, Kathryn, for the deep insight, namely that hunger, corporal or mental, can by God’s grace trigger a greater spiritual hunger for Him and strengthen my resolve to serve Him and my hungry fellow creatures. I shall make use of your understanding for my homily tomorrow, the first Sunday of Lent.
    Mervyn Carapiet

    Mervyn Carapiet March 8, 2014 |
  7. Leave a response…Jesus lived what He taught. Advertisements and political chalenges bring us to wanting more, definatly we should worry about not having enough. Jesus taught us not to WORRY. I believe He knew what He was talking about.

    Richard Hirschler March 8, 2014 |
  8. Leave a response…Psalm 23:1 I shall not want. I am to teach myself the lesson that my wants reflect an emptiness that can only be filled by my walk with my Lord. Thank-you for reminding me of the possibility for growth when I catch myself saying “I want . . .”

    Lorne Friesen March 19, 2014 |