Monday, February 12, 2007

Woe to you who are full now...

After writing yesterday, I went to the evening service at Holy Family Episcopal Church in Rohnert Park. I hadn't read the lessons in advance, so when I was asked to read the Gospel at this informal service, the "woes" from Luke's Gospel hit me hard, and seemed to extend the thinking I had been doing about appreciating the things we have to eat.

I know that I rarely experience hunger. And I know that even when I do, it's a choice - and a choice that's easily reversed. Full, sated, is a normal state for so many of us. Blessed are the hungry, says Luke - but woe to you are full now. What does this mean for us?

Of course it challenges our collective greed, the carelessness with which we indulge ourselves, most of us, in our country and our time. Some translations use "happy" instead of "blessed", though, and this makes me wonder if beyond economic injustice, beyond disregard for those who have little or nothing because we have too much, are we emotionally crippled, unable to know true joy, because we are full all the time?

In a moment of quiet I asked myself that question all fat people must ask themselves - what am I truly hungry for? And I realized I am hungry for hunger. Not hunger in the sense of gnawing deprivation, but hunger in the sense of a generous appetite for all of life, hunger that enables me to sense God's bounty in every way, hunger that enables me to delight in creation always.

I had a sense of that as I thought about the first people gathering mushrooms, subject to the caprices of weather; I had a sense of that on Saturday's walk as I took in the freshness of new green growth, and realized how hungry I had been, to get out and walk in the rain.

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