Tue, Mar 9: THIRSTY
When Matthew addresses hunger and thirst, we can consider them as intertwined appetites of body, mind, and spirit. Our thirst begins deep inside, born among the gaps and absences, hurts and shortcomings. Something is missing. We feel empty — or perhaps incomplete — and long to be filled.
Spiritually, we’re thirsting for a more life-giving and essential connection, healing, and relationship. It often arises as a sense of longing, questioning, or restlessness, to which Christ speaks in this Beatitude. It also echoes the long narrative thread of water in Biblical stories.
Of course, Christ is called the Water of Life. Truly, the sacred element of water, especially in desert settings, is not just symbolic: it is crucial to thriving.
We can trace the stories of water from Hebrew scriptures to the Gospels and letters of Paul. It begins with the creation story of the waters covering the face of the earth, arises in the the great flood and covenant with Noah, and flows in the river that carried baby Moses away from Miriam to the Egyptian princess that raised him, rolls back as the famed parting of the Red Sea for the fleeing Israelites, the springs forth as the fountain of water when Moses struck the rock with his staff. It returns in stories of the wells and rivers and oases that nourished flocks and shepherds and whole tribes. It is the backdrop for the tale of Jonah and the fish and a gathering place in distance lands around which the exiled Israelites gathered and wept. Among the stories of Jesus are those that include being baptized by John in the Jordan, asking for water from the woman at the well, transforming water into wine at the wedding, calming stormy waters, walking on the water, washing the feet of his followers, and weeping as he died on the cross. Then again, water becomes crucial in the apostolic tales of baptizing new believers such as Lydia or traveling across the seas to new cities and faith communities.
How do we trace the story of thirst, and life-giving responses we have experienced, in our own lives?
Always, thirst suggests a vital need within us: in this case it is for more than the survival of our bodies. Jacques Phillipe writes, ‘The fourth Beatitude points to a question; what is my deepest desire? Hunger and thirst are images for what is most essential … What desire is the principle of unity in my life?’
Sometimes, mistakenly, we reach for easy comforts that sate and distract. Ones that cannot meet our deepest need. As humans, we often take shortcuts to satisfy underlying emotional, psychological, spiritual needs and thirsts.
In part, this Beatitude addresses the honesty of accounting for the ways we are harmful to ourselves and others as we search for Godself. We make mistakes by quenching lesser and unhealthy cravings along the way. They get between us and a healthy relationship with ourselves, other people, and Godself.
In twelve-step models, this parallels taking inventory of our moral issues. Christ blesses those who acknowledge their hungers and thirsts — their addictions and desires and habits — and then re-direct themselves, striving for satisfaction in healthy and holy ways.
These forms of inventory, and seeking right relationship, can also occur at societal levels. Certainly the focus on relationship suggests community as part of the response as well as the source of the trouble. Jacques Phillipe observes, ‘Hunger and thirst for justice, desire for the Kingdom, far from being passive waiting, are actively expressed in announcing the good news of the gospel and the work of transforming society to which each of us is called.’
Our desires may be met and filled by a focused connection to Godself and a supportive community. Yet simply to realize that we have such a need is an important step along the Way of Christ. Revealing these vulnerable, imperfect aspects of our being and our society can lead to healing: reinforcing personal and communal practices that support wellbeing.
This process doesn’t promise to be easy. Yet the Beatitude assures us that we will be filled. All the gaps and fissures, the broken places, the emptiness and isolation, will be topped off. God’s abundance overflows. We are renewed through relationships with creation, other people, and with Godself. — Rev Gail
Animals praise a good day, a good hunt. They praise rain if they’re thirsty. That’s prayer. They don’t live an unconscious life, they simply have no language to talk about these things. But they are grateful for the good things that come along. — Mary Oliver
When you’re thirsty and it seems that you could drink the entire ocean, that’s faith; when you start to drink and finish only a glass or two, that’s science. — Anton Chekhov
It’s a great responsibility before God, the judge who guides us, who draws us to truth and good, and in this sense the church must unmask evil, rendering present the goodness of God, rendering present his truth, the truly infinite for which we are thirsty. — Pope Benedict XVI
Challenge or Question: In what ways do you feel empty? When does this emptiness seem healthy and when is it a problem? What fills the emptiness or ‘lack’ for you?
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