Tag Archives: Parables

Biblical food metaphors…

Have you ever noticed how many times a food metaphor is used in the Bible?  Many times, it isn’t “cream puff” ideas being put forth either…Jesus Himself employed them about various subjects, including Himself.  Why do you think that is?

John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst

Food and drink are two things every human can relate to.  We know what it is like to be hungry and thirsty; these are experiences we’ve all had.  When a food metaphor is used, it is then easy to connect to no matter who you are.

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Food and drink are essential to life.  Food gives us energy, and strength.  It helps us to grow and even to think.  Have you ever noticed that when you are hungry that it is easier to zone out; usually we just concentrate on the rumblings in our stomachs.  When you are thirsty all you can think of is how thirsty you are, how great it would be for a nice cool glass of some kind of sparkling liquid to quench that thirst.

John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

When Christ was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, one of the outcomes of the isolation was that Jesus was hungry.  Here comes the devil to tempt Him with food.  Command the stones to become bread, the devil prodded.  How did Jesus answer?  Matthew 4:4…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. The metaphor is doubled when we consider that Christ Himself is the very Word of God.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

So, that is our answer to getting spiritual food; we turn to the word of God; scripture, and also to The Word of God; Christ.  In the same way that physical food nourishes our bodies, helps us to grow, to concentrate, to be strong…so too does turning to the word and The Word of God.  I’ve mentioned before that I find it interesting that those who do not have a relationship with God; those that are not permanently quenching that thirst, try to quench it through various means, be it with drugs, human relationships, fame, physical food, man-made philosophy, etc…  While in their current lives, these things may add something, we are more concerned with eternal life. It reminds me of the occurrence of pica; the ingestion of substances that don’t really have any nutritional value…such as clay from a river bank.  Often times it gives the impression that one is feeding oneself, it makes you feel full for a time, but in reality, the person is not getting anything from what they are eating.  In fact, their body may be in need of some essential nutrient, but they are not getting it from the substance that they consume.

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come…. 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

So, for me, it is clear why food metaphors are used; they are central to the human experience, food and drink are necessary for life, we gather energy and strength from them, and let’s face it, most of us like good food.  Food, in the best of times, also becomes a communal experience, something shared between people.  Food connects us and enhances our lives…so it should be with spiritual food as well.  Just as with physical food and drink, we need to keep part of our minds on our health.  It matters very much what we put into ourselves, what we feed on, what we draw our nutrition from.

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Filed under Communion, The Bible, Theology

Finding the Sacred in the “Secular”…

First, I don’t believe (once someone gets past being a “Sunday Christian” ) that there is a divide between the sacred and the secular, but that is a different post for a different day.  I’m going to use the labels to get my point across for the sake of this post.  Finding the sacred in the secular is a knack…not everyone has it, and not everyone wants it.  There are some hyper-fundamentalists, and some denominations that would disagree with pretty much everything I’m going to say in this installment.

When one comes to Christ, and is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, it not something that is turned on and off…our beings become fundamentally changed and we are made a new creature.  A new creature sees and hears the world in a different way; everything starts having different meanings, and our lives are richer for it.  There have been many things in my life that have either taught me spiritual truth, or have made me think more deeply about some aspect of life, the universe, and everything, that have come from a secular source (by this point all my readers should see that plainly by my enjoyment of Doctor Who, amongst other things).  There are “secular” songs, for instance that are written about various subjects from romance to fame that resonate with me about theological issues, books that aren’t about religion in any way shape or form that touch my soul, movies that may reveal an aspect of our relationship to God or to other humans that were never “meant” by the writers, directors and producers to be taken that way.

There are those in Christendom that would tell each of us to shun everything secular…besides being impossible, isn’t that a bit presumptive?  When the Lord wanted to get a point across in a way that would stick in the minds of the people listening He often employed parables; teaching stories that brought in aspects of everyday life (that most would label “secular”) that also taught spiritual truth for those with the eyes and ears to see and hear the point He was making.  He was the Master at weaving the sacred into the mundane.  Now, I don’t believe that all secular musicians and writers are doing the same thing that He did, far from it, but I do believe that the Holy Spirit can use the secular to turn on a light bulb within us.

My point is this; keep your eyes and ears open, you never know what medium or in what way God may decide to get you thinking.  We are to be in the world, but not of it, we are to think of good and wonderful things…but that does not mean we are to live with our heads in the sand, or to stop up our ears and hide our eyes from all things secular.  The Holy Spirit is quite capable of directing us to something, or away from it on an individual basis, and I for one firmly believe that He uses the mundane to get us thinking and to transform the secular into the sacred; to transform various everyday experiences, like watching a television show, or listening to a song, or fishing, or hiking, or working out, or reading a book…into something that can teach us about the spiritual aspects of ourselves, or our relationship to Him.  And, no, that doesn’t give us an excuse not to turn to Him in His word, or to abandon “sacred” music…it’s just another aspect of our lives that He can (and I believe does) use. This can also fit into apologetics; when we are talking to others, it is sometimes easier for us to communicate a point by giving examples and drawing connections between things that people experience in a “secular” sense, depending on the other person’s experiences.

I hope to have a precise example written up to better illustrate my point by tomorrow, and will add the link here when it is up.  EDIT: Okay, here are my thoughts using a Breaking Benjamin song (a secular band) to remind readers that Jesus is a Lamb, and a Lion.

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Filed under Apologetics, Sacred Secular