Below in italics is a reflection of mine from Dec 28th. The thoughts were prompted by two major events. 1) A colleague told the story of a house-cleaner she employs taking food from the trash that my colleague thought was ruined because it was a bit over-cooked. 2) The next day I was sitting at a Indian restaurant with another Western colleague's family and their small son said, "I'm starving". Like my Dad would say to me many a time when I was small and I said similar things (okay, let's be honest, in college also when I'd say such things), I responded: "Have you not eaten in four days?" to which the child said "Yes." I almost laughed, because that's the kind of response I would have crossly given my Dad in my highschool and college years (under my breath in my highschool years).
I’m beginning to think we Xristians in and of the West tend to be like the child who’s never really been hungry because almost everyday he has had a meal, but at mealtime he says: "I’m starving!" We sit down to a spiritual meal and say "I’m starving," while countless others have never had a taste of the meat of the gospel. We allow the gospel to be taken from our dregs, our throway food that we think can’t really be eaten, the crumbs of bread. Even among those on living on m'ssion, and I include myself, we sometimes find it hard to sit down with people and eat physical meals with them and [then] tell them the truth of Jesus’ peace with God offered to them and the forgiveness of sins made available through His work. We have a hard time giving of the meat and wine of the gospel which Jesus makes available to all. Yes, many multitudes will turn down this strange food. But even among those who turn down the spiritual food at one time will eventually feel their hunger and swallow their pride and partake. Let us not be selfish or afraid to offer it to them.-- December 28, 2009
Rereading my reflection, I'm struck that spiritually, the child's cross reply is still likely to come from me when I want spiritual food and fellowship, and someone [like G-d or a messenger of his] reminds me that yet others are spiritually starving for the first bite of the bread of life. Of course, there is nothing wrong and everything right with us getting spiritual fellowship and spiritual bread. The moral of the reflection isn't that it's wrong to take care of ourselves. Far from it. The ethic that I find that I struggle sometimes to embed in my own life is that it is good and right to take care of not only myself and but also others, by offering them also the bread and water of life- not only physical life but also spiritual life..