“Want Fries With That?”
April 28, 2017
Then Jesus looked up at his disciples and said, ‘Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.’ — Luke 6:20a, 21a
When my boys were younger, every time we drove past a McDonald’s they would plead with me to pull over for a Happy Meal. Within a day or two the accompanying cheap plastic toy would wind up on the family room floor, forgotten and broken. I always thought they should be rebranded “Temporarily Happy Meals.” Because the joy lasted only until the toy broke, the kids got hungry again, and we passed yet another McDonalds.
As adults we aren’t immune to this misplaced hunger. We see something we want, and, believing it will bring us great joy, we go out and get it. And the new sofa, or new car, or new pair of shoes, or new relationship does fill us with joy, temporarily. But the happiness is fleeting and we are again left with the same hunger for joy and fulfillment.
There are many stories of food in the Bible — of Jesus feeding the hungry or eating with the marginalized. Perhaps the most famous is Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000 with just five loaves and two fish. He takes away their physical hunger but, just as miraculously, the mere presence of Jesus feeds their spiritual hunger. And it’s a wonderful reminder that the only thing that can really satisfy our deep hunger; the only thing that can fulfill our innate longing is authentic relationship with God.
Jesus isn’t kidding when he proclaims, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry.” Jesus alone sustains us on this journey of life and faith, and nothing else comes close.
In a sense, Jesus is the ultimate “Happy Meal.” He doesn’t come with french fries or a plastic toy. But faith in Jesus Christ does bring us a sense of joy and wonder that is everlasting; an enduring “happiness” that doesn’t fade or diminish; true fulfillment in every sense of the word.
This week’s author is the Rev. Tim Schenck, rector of the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Evangelist in Hingham, Massachusetts and creator of the wildly popular Lenten devotion Lent Madness. When not tending to his parish, drinking coffee, or blogging at Clergy Confidential, he’s likely hanging out with his family that includes his wife Bryna, two teenage sons Benedict and Zachary, his dog Delilah, and a ferret named Mimi. Friend him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @FatherTim.