March 2: Within our grasp but beyond our grip
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Ho, ho, ho. It’s a wonderful life! What we most need for nourishment and delight is free of charge. There’s a banquet set before us and we’re invited to the table. Smacznego!
Yet the cult of cornucopia has convinced us that our happiness and the health of the economy depend on what we feverishly buy and voraciously consume. So we charge around buying bread that is not bread, and selling labor without love. Bloated and hollow we are desperate for things that numb instead of nourish.
The wine and milk that quench our deepest thirst may indeed be free, but are not without cost. The rich food that truly satisfies is priceless, but not beyond all medium of exchange. If we want to live, we must listen. Carefully listen. Ears attuned, eyes peeled, tongue-nose-and-fingers tingly with attentiveness. The LORD can be found. But we must look in order to see. We must see in order to find. The LORD is near and may be called upon. Now is the time. This is the season.
At their best, conservatives admonish us to hold on to that which stills the deepest hunger and satisfies the longings of the heart. Liberals inspire us to let go of the ways and the thoughts that clutter and cling and occlude. With reckless conviction we equate our ways with God’s ways, our thoughts with God’s thoughts. The wisdom of the prophet invites us to taste and see that the thoughtful ways of God are within our grasp but beyond our grip.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 55: 1-9 (NRSV)
Ho, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.
Seek the Lord while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake their way,
and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.