THIS WEEK'S REFLECTION
Potluck this Sunday! Was Jesus a glutton?
We enjoy a potluck together every month, and food is one of the highlights of many religious celebrations. (I say, “Easter” you say, “Ham!” I say “Christmas,” you say, “Cookies!”) Yet there is also a tradition in religious practice of fasting and asceticism. Generations have argued the point: Which brings us closer to the heart of God, feasting or fasting?
Is it possible that the question totally misses the point? Our reflection this week is on Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30, and Jesus notes that people criticized John the Baptist for his fasting, but they approved even less of Jesus’ dining habits. In fact, so much of the history of religion is the story of totally missing the point--fixating on the letter of the law while the Spirit blows where it will, codifying ins and outs, rights and wrongs, friends and enemies, heaven and hell, while Jesus and other giants of wisdom break open the mysterious paradoxes that can never be reduced to either/or thinking. The story ends with another paradox, an invitation to take on the “easy yoke” of following him.
Are you more naturally drawn toward celebration or self-denial?
What can you learn from the opposite persuasion?
What is Jesus’ “easy yoke” that offers rest for the soul?
When is hard work most invigorating?