Friday, June 21, 2024

Strong and Happy

Our God is a God of bread and wine. If you read through the Scriptures with an eye for it, you'll find this meal in a thousand little places where you never expected it. 

One such place that I recently found this Table was deep into the psalms. 

In Psalm 104, the psalmist declares that the Lord has given us "bread to make us strong, wine to make us happy, and oil to make our faces shine." And I love this image of the meal. 

Bread has nutritional value. It is full of carbohydrates, which the body uses for energy. It does something to the physical system to eat bread; it enables us to do other things, things that God has called us to do. The bread nourishes our bodies. 

Wine...doesn't really have nutritional value. You aren't getting a lot of good energies from wine. You aren't giving your body much fuel at all. does something to the soul. It's intoxicating. It captivates something inside our spirit and makes us lighter, more carefree. More prone to dream wild dreams. The wine nourishes our soul. 

I think this is important when we think about the meal that Jesus prepared for us in the Upper Room and, just a few hours later, on the Cross. He told us this was His body and this was His blood; He told us it was the bread and the wine. 

And I think the only conclusion we can draw from that is that the Lord was telling us that He was feeding our bodies and our souls. That in His sacrifice, there was something for every part of us. Something for the part of us that connects to the world (the body) and something for the part of us that connects to the Lord (our soul). 

Sometimes, it's too easy for us to forget about this. To think that God only cares about what we can do or about how much we love Him, but not really the two of those things together. We tend to tip the scales one direction or the other and convince ourselves that God only cares about one thing - whatever we have decided that one thing is.

I'm telling you - it's very infrequent that we decide that God cares at all about our happiness. 

But here it is, right there in the psalms - the purpose of the wine is to make us happy. 

Of course, we are talking about a happiness of soul, not a satisfaction of the flesh. We're talking about a true happiness, not a temporary glee. We're talking about abiding joy, not momentary ecstasy. But it's there - happiness. God cares about our happiness. 

And if you ever forget that, then this Table is here to remind you. 

For on it, forever, there is bread to make us strong and wine to make us happy, the body to give us strength and the blood to give us joy. This is the gift.  

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