Thursday, November 8, 2007

The God of Substance

It's bread baking season again. Here in the south, turning on the oven in summer isn't a popular pastime for obvious reasons, and I'd forgotten how good homemade bread is. Honestly, the store bought sandwich bread I buy bears little resemblance to REAL bread. The plastic-bagged kind is more of an interesting scientific feat--just how DO they get it so soft?--and less of a substance one feels they could live off. I like to be able to knock on my bread and hear a hollow sound, to take a bite that doesn't instantly turn to spongy paste. It's a good thing to not be able to smash bread between canned food in my grocery bag. Thus, I find it interesting that long before Wonder Bread hit the scene, Jesus described himself to us as "the bread of life" (John 6:48). In fact, he commands us to eat him, to remember him by taking a bite of consecrated bread.

The longer I follow Jesus, the more sense he makes, and the reasons I follow him keep getting deeper and deeper. Insubstantial things in life do not have a similar effect; they wither, they don't hold up under light, they disappoint. Above all, I want my life to be one of substance. Oh Lord, keep ephemeral pursuits from being the sum total of my earthly existence!

There is nothing of more substance in the universe than God. He is the immense framework upon which it is founded, "for in him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28a). "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17). It makes such perfect sense that Jesus would offer us his substance- his bruised and bloodied flesh upon the cross, and feed us everlasting life with his body. And that he repeatedly extends this promise to us by offering himself in the form of bread and wine in the Eucharist. He says to us, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you" (John 6:53).

God is substance. God is weight. God is depth. God is sense. God is light. God is strength. God is power. God is real. He feeds us what we need and ignores what we don't. I am so honored to have him call me his own.

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