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Lenten Reflections: God's Abundance

'Raining on Oaxaca' photo (c) 2011, oz - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Isaiah 55:1-9
Psalm 63:1-8
Luke 13:1-9
1 Corinthians 10:1-13

By Rev. Katie Cashwell

Food! Glorious Food! Our scripture passages today are stuffed full of food imagery. Isaiah encourages us to delight in rich food and eat what is good (v. 2). The Psalmist speaks of being satisfied with a rich feast (v.5).  Luke writes of a fruitless fig tree (v. 6) and Corinthians makes reference to spiritual food and drink (vs. 3-4). It would seem that all of our passages illustrate God’s abundance and richness through food imagery.  For ancient farmers and early agrarians, an abundant harvest was a sign of God’s favor. A good harvest was an occasion to give thanks to God. A fruitful fig tree, rich food, and an abundant feast are all indicators of God’s goodness and are signs of the gifts that God gives.

From our passage it is clear that food was a central part of life. Humans have always had to eat; and so food is one element that connects us to our brothers and sisters of ancient times. For them, and for us, food and breaking bread together is an opportunity to give thanks, to delight in God’s goodness, and to reflect on God’s blessings. Just like the ancient audience that first heard these passages, we are also familiar with what a drought in life feels like. We know what it is to thirst, to labor for that which does not satisfy, to spend money on that which does not give life, to feel like a fruitless fig tree.

But we are also a people who believe in restoration, in forgiveness, second chances, and abundance. We are invited to consider the gift of another Lenten season, another harvest, another year of life as an act of God’s mercy. We are challenged to live each day as a gift from God and to live into gratitude for the abundant feast that God provides.

We will celebrate communion today in worship. This holy feast that we celebrate is a sign and seal of eating and drinking in communion with Christ. In this meal the Church celebrates the joyful feast of the people of God, and anticipates the great banquet of God’s Kingdom. We also have ample opportunities during Lent at New York Avenue to gather around tables together and celebrate God’s abundance in our community. Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday Soup Suppers and Easter morning breakfast are occasions during Lent when we will delight in rich food, eat what is good, drink in spiritual goodness together.

I would invite you today to reflect on those times when you felt like a withering fig tree, and yet God’s abundance was still steadfast in your life. Thanks be to God for bread and drink, and an ever-ready table.

Rev. Katie Cashwell is interim associate pastor for congregational life at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, in Washington, D.C. This post is reprinted, with permission,  from NYAPC's 2013 Lenten Meditations booklet.


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