Summary: Within every person is a deep longing, a yearning of spirit, for something full of beauty, purity, peace and purpose, and where evil is defeated.
Blessed are those who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
Matt 5:6 March 27, 2011
Last week I was sitting at my desk in my office and heard this loud whining sound, it would rise in pitch and then die away, then start up again. It is a familiar sound, http://www.amazon.com/Auto-Car-Tire-Spinning-Snow/dp/B0010I4PCU, one most of us have heard with a sinking feeling in our gut. I leaned back and looked out my window, and saw Pastor Garret getting out of the van which was sitting at a strange angle, the front right side wedged into a foot and a half pile of snow at the edge of our neighbour’s driveway where they had shoveled. I grabbed my coat and gloves, headed out and confirmed the source of the sound as the front van tire spinning freely on a patch of ice. It took a few minutes, a couple of shovels, some pushing, and a little traction aid I carry in the back of my truck, but we got him unstuck relatively easily.
If only it were that easy to get a stuck soul moving again. You might know what I’m talking about. It is the valley after the mountain-top experience, the “return to reality” after some deep experience of God that got us fired up and excited about our faith, overwhelmed with the love of Jesus and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Maybe for you it was the experience of a miracle, either outside of you or inside of you, where you knew with all your being that God was real and He was with you and you were alive and invigorated. Or maybe it was a profound truth in a song or a sermon or a book, which awakened something within you, brought you into a place of life and freedom in a new and deeper way. Maybe it was when you saw the smile and heard the laugh from someone you had gone to serve, and you knew that no matter how hard it might have been for you to do, it was worth it and God was pleased. Maybe it was even the first time you came to faith, your doubts and questions melting away in the new reality of God’s incredible love for you as you responded in faith and experienced the “new birth” Jesus described to Nicodemus in John 3.
And maybe that excitement, passion, commitment has waned. Maybe you feel like you are just going through the motions of life, existing rather than living, even living your faith out of habit rather than out of a sense of life. Maybe you feel a little stuck.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” This morning I am going to try to make us feel a little unsettled. I’m going to talk about hope and longing and change, about whether or not we really believe that God can come in the midst of all that is wrong and actually bring change. I’m going to try to help us touch the place of longing, and open it up in the light of Jesus’ beatitude, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst”.
See, I believe that within every person there is a deep longing, a yearning of spirit, for something full of beauty and purity, something full of peace and purpose, a place where justice is a reality and where evil is defeated. It is why so many movies have a “happy ending”, so many TV shows wrap up the problem or issue or solve the case in 22 or 44 minutes, why books resolve the plot and songs resolve the chord, why art connects with something inside of us, even why we long for the sun to shine after a long winter. Because we were made with this deep longing within us.
But this is a dangerous thing of which to speak. See, life has disappointed us. Many of us have taken a risk – to love, to share, to be open, to admit this longing within us – and have gotten smacked down, betrayed, wounded, and so we have tried to run away. Tried to shut this part of our lives down, lock it in a back room, insulate ourselves from the pull it has on us. We’ve pulled back from relationships, kept God at the surface, and then busied ourselves with all kinds of things so that we don’t have to stop and think and feel and be. Because when we stop all the noise and the busyness, we hear the cry of a longing heart we tried to lock away safely in the back room, which is hungry and thirsty for something deeper, more significant, more real, than the life we are now experiencing. And sometimes we are afraid to hear that cry, because it might call us to risk again, and so we run away.