I am just waiting for girl’s state basketball tournament to end as the myth is that the weather will finally turn to spring when the girl’s state champions are crowned. This is one uncanny myth where it seems the results of weather and tournament do end at the same time. So, I wait patiently, or I tell myself I wait patiently. I find that the word patient doesn’t work but the word hunger is more descriptive of where I am at during this time of year. As in I hunger for spring temps and warm sunshine.
There are two kinds of hunger. There’s a hunger that has a name like my hunger for spring. It’s a hunger where you know what you want but you haven’t got it or can’t have it. You thought you would get the job, but you didn’t. You were hungry and dying to get something to eat but the cupboard was bare. When you want something to go right in your life, but nobody is working in your favor. The old saying goes, “We are what we eat.” We’re also capable of becoming contorted into the shape of what we hunger for.
Then there is the hunger that does not have a name. Vicar Sam Wells describes this hunger as coming from somewhere deep, in the bottom of your soul, but it doesn’t have a name. There is no simple solution to it, no hot meal, nor no new job will satisfy it. The rock band U2 described this hunger best in the song “I Haven’t Found What I am Looking For”: “I have climbed the highest mountains, I have run through the fields, Only to be with you, Only to be with you, I have run I have crawled, I have scaled these city walls, These city walls, Only to be with you, But I still haven't found, What I'm looking for”
We often think that our number one mission as Christians is meeting the hunger that has a name: for the starving, food; for the thirsty, water; for the naked, clothing; for the sick, medicine. Like the song from U2 people want and need more than that. Almost always, what they want is something no one can give them. Christianity isn’t simply about satisfying people’s hunger. What people are hungry for is something they don’t know the name of and wouldn’t initially recognize even when they found it.
And what is that mysterious discovery, that extraordinary food? It’s the wondrous truth that there’s something even deeper, even more long-lasting, and even more insatiable than our hunger. And that’s God’s hunger for us. “For as the heavens ae higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts,” we’re told in Isaiah 55.
Are you hungry? Does your hunger have a name, like the hunger for a new job or a partner or a home or a new start? Or is your hunger deeper and more insatiable than that, something that even gaining those precious things won’t appease? Listen carefully to me, says Isaiah, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.” “Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” It’s free but not cheap-it’s priceless but for everybody. If you’re hungry-deeply, deeply hungry-hear the good news, the news that you’ve been waiting all this time for: God’s hungry. Hungry for you.
See you Sunday,
Rev. Dennis Hopes