As he talked to the people of his time, Jesus used imagery that helped them identify with the conditions of humanity: those who would receive the blessing. Hunger. Thirst. The same metaphors translate well for modern folks.
We understand such deep and essential needs. Authors of the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Biblical commentaries write about this Beatitude by including it among the three earlier ones that addressed being poor in spirit, mournful, and meek. These scholars say that those who receive the first four blessings are “conscious of their need of salvation” and that they do not yet act as if they are “possessed of it.”
They’re metaphorically empty. And they know it. And somehow, this need or ‘lack’ is always creating space for the presence of God in their lives. Our lives. Remember, this blessing extends down through generations to embrace us, too.
Folks who are about to be ‘filled’ are among those in the early stages of the twelve-step recovery model: a helpful way to compare the journey through the Beatitudes. They’re in need. They’ve admitted to that need. They’ve named the nature of their issues and challenges. They have handed over their lives and wellbeing to redemptive relationships, such as Godself. They long for help. If they identify as Christians, they have turned themselves toward God — their source of a holistic wellspring — for that help.
If we’re longing for a healthy and sustainable relationship with Godself, mirrored in our self-care and ethical connections to other people, then the answer to our desire is to experience a wholeness of connection that satisfies what seems missing in our lives. That’s what being ‘filled’ means. That’s the blessing.
It’s an easy metaphor to understand. Harder to live out.
Think of this desire as life-threatening. As vital as lack of food or water would be.
You need to be filled. Fulfilled. The promise of the Beatitude is that the need is met. More than met, by forming a relationship with Godself.
Our desire to be in relationship with God, when fulfilled, is satisfied in such a way that it may remain sated. It continually renews wellbeing. We’ll probably have relapses. Bumps along the way.
Yet our holistic connection to God restores equilibrium. In such conditions, we can care for ourselves and others, because we are anchored in a bond with Godself.
Of course, the human experience, named at the start of the blessing, is that we’re constantly wanting. We start out empty: devouring and processing whatever we can imbibe. In a sense, that’s how we learn.
Even if we want good, healthy, ethical conditions and outcomes and connections, we’re on the empty end of the equation, wishing for fulfillment. And we’re perpetually out of balance, we cannot stand alone: we need to be in relationship.
Simply wanting to be connected to God turns us in a life-affirming direction. It won’t be easy or absolute. The state of reaching toward God, as God leans close to meet us where we are, remains part of our journey. Apparently, we must exercise the option to say yes, over and over.
While we’re always invited to belong to God, the choice remains ours. The opportunity to say yes — or not — is within our power. So the only one who gets in the way of the relationship with God is us and our human experience.
God always draws close. Pursues us. Never backs down. Never gives up. Always shows up. And that presence … that’s what fulfills. And fills. — Rev Gail
Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living? — Bob Marley
Man is the only animal whose desires increase as they are fed; the only animal that is never satisfied. — Henry George
To be satisfied with a little, is the greatest wisdom; and he that increaseth his riches, increaseth his cares; but a contented mind is a hidden treasure, and trouble findeth it not. — Akhenaton
You must accept that you might fail; then, if you do your best and still don’t win, at least you can be satisfied that you’ve tried. If you don’t accept failure as a possibility, you don’t set high goals, you don’t branch out, you don’t try – you don’t take the risk. — Rosalynn Carter
God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. — John Piper
Challenge or Question: When do you feel that you are enough? How does that reflect on your connection to Godself? What gifts have you received that allow you to experience that feeling of contentment, fulfillment, satisfaction, and being enough?
10:30am • Jackson Community Church
Sunday, Feb 3rd
- Bring a potluck dish to share! Beverages provided by church.
- Wear your favorite team colors.
- Worship starts in sanctuary, continues with shared meal in Parish House.
How I long to see among dawn flowers,
the face of God. ― Basho
Song (video): I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking Forby U2
Mindful — Mary Oliver
(From Why I Wake Early)
Every day I see or hear
something that more or less
kills me with delight,
that leaves me like a needle
in the haystack of light.
It was what I was born for – to look, to listen,
to lose myself inside this soft world –
to instruct myself over and over in joy, and acclamation.
Nor am I talking about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful, the very extravagant –
but of the ordinary, the common,
the very drab, the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar, I say to myself,
how can you help but grow wise
with such teachings as these –
the untrimmable light of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made out of grass?
On Longing: Human and Holy
Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise; seek what they sought. — Basho
Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back. From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment. The eternal makes you urgent. You are loath to let compromise or the threat of danger hold you back from striving toward the summit of fulfillment. ― John O’Donohue, Anam Cara
Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible. — Victor Frankl
Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee. ― Augustine of Hippo, Confessions
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. — CS Lewis
There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it. — Oscar Wilde
There is a smile and a gentleness inside. When I learned the name and address of that, I went to where you sell perfume. I begged you not to trouble me so with longing. — Rumi
There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator … — Blaise Pascal
My library is an archive of longings. ― Susan Sontag, As Consciousness is Harnessed to Flesh
I don’t know what they are called, the spaces between seconds– but I think of you always in those intervals. ― Salvador Plascencia, The People of Paper
… There is the heat of Love, the pulsing rush of Longing, the lover’s whisper, irresistible—magic to make the sanest man go mad. ― Homer, The Iliad
To want and not to have, sent all up her body a hardness, a hollowness, a strain. And then to want and not to have- to want and want- how that wrung the heart, and wrung it again and again! ― Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are still alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger for them. ― George Eliot
Radical self-care is what we’ve been longing for, desperate for, our entire lives-friendship with our own hearts. — Anne Lamott
Passion to Play & Live
To me, football is so much about mental toughness, it’s digging deep, it’s doing whatever you need to do to help a team win and that comes in a lot of shapes and forms. — Tom Brady
Losing doesn’t make me want to quit, it makes me want to fight that much harder. — Bear Bryant
Seeking the truth, finding the truth, telling the truth and living the truth has been and will always be what guides my actions. — Colin Kaepernick
For every pass I caught in a game, I caught a thousand in practice. — Don Hutson
Remember, tomorrow is promised to no one. — Walter Payton
I think it’s also important for people to really see that your identity doesn’t come just from what you do but who you are. My relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing to me. Because of that, I don’t have to change whether I am one of the most popular guys in football. — Tim Tebow
Today, you’ve got a decision to make. You’re gonna get better or you’re gonna get worse, but you’re not gonna stay the same. Which will it be? — Joe Paterno
The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office. — Dwight D. Eisenhower
If you want to win, do the ordinary things better than anyone else does them, day in and day out. — Chuck Noll
Life is ten percent what happens to you, and ninety percent how you respond to it.— Lou Holtz
The game of life is a lot like football. You have to tackle your problems, block your fears, and score your points when you get the opportunity. — Lewis Grizzard
Football is a great deal like life in that it teaches that work, sacrifice, perseverance, competitive drive, selflessness and respect for authority is the price that each and every one of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile. — Vince Lombardi
Don’t walk through life just playing football. Don’t walk through life just being an athlete. Athletics will fade. Character and integrity and really making an impact on someone’s life, that’s the ultimate vision, that’s the ultimate goal – bottom line. — Ray Lewis
Happiness does not come from football awards. It’s terrible to correlate happiness with football. Happiness comes from a good job, being able to feed your wife and kids. I don’t dream football, I dream the American dream … — Barry Sanders
Commentary on Longing from Different Faiths & Disciplines
In order to develop unbiased infinite love, you first need the practice of detach[ment]. But “detach” does not mean to give up desire. Desire must be there. Without desire, how can we live our life? Without desire, how can we achieve Buddhahood? … It’s very necessary in order to tackle all these biological factors of hatred, or anger, these things [for which] you need tremendous sort of will power. So the self-confidence is very, very important, but the ego which disregards other’s right—that is bad. In other words, I think egotistic attitude based on ignorance is negative. Egotistic sort of feeling based on reasons is positive. — Dalai Lama
Sometimes when we connect with our inner need and allow it to illuminate us, this striving can be creative, innovative and nourishing, and we feel sated. Other times we are so frightened by it, we satisfy the craving quickly and temporarily without knowing the need and without knowing ourselves. The hunger returns. And returns again. And again. And guess what? No matter how evolved you become, it will return again, just like physical hunger does. The solution isn’t to rid ourselves of hunger and longing, it is to learn to live with the hunger– experiencing it differently. If we are lucky, we will discover what we are really hungry for and channel ourselves into nourishing pursuits. … — Robin Cohen with reference to Thich Nhat Hanh, W. Ronald D. Fairbairn & Harry Guntrip
In speaking of this desire for our own far off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited. ― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory