“If I were hungry, do you really think I would ask you to provide my meal? If I wanted music – if I were conducting research into the more recondite details of the history of the Western Rite – do you really think you are the source I would rely on?”
Yet, for some reason, He does.
We’re like little children mixing ketchup and honey and crackers and salt and beaming at our parents’ to eat.
And maybe that’s the point.
Little children express more of an appetite for their parents than a love of cooking. The psalmists seem to have an appetite for God. They have an appetite for Him and His presence that seems to only come only to the best Christians or to Christians in their best moments.
C.S. Lewis describes them this way:
“These poets knew far less reason than we for loving God. They did not know that He offered them eternal joy; still less that He would die to win it for them. Yet they express a longing for Him, for His mere presence, which comes only to the best Christians or to Christians in their best moments. They long to live all their days in the Temple so that they may constantly see ‘the fair beauty of the Lord’ (Ps. 27:4). Their longing to go up to Jerusalem and ‘appear before the presence of God’ is like a physical thirst (Ps. 42). From Jerusalem His presence flashes out ‘in perfect beauty’ (Ps. 50:2). Lacking that encounter with Him, their souls are parched like a waterless countryside (Ps. 63:2). They crave to be ‘satisfied with the pleasures’ of His house (Ps. 65:4). Only there can they be at ease, like a bird in the nest (Ps. 84:3). One day of those ‘pleasures’ is better than a lifetime spent elsewhere (Ps. 84:10).”
Excerpted from “Reflections on the Psalms,” by C.S. Lewis
They seem to have it all together. I don’t mean that the psalmists were without problems. Their own lyrics state emphatically otherwise. But they have the things that need to be together, together. That is, there is a real connection between what they believe and the natural operation of their bodies. It isn’t spoiled with our notion of ‘spirituality’ or even our notions of ‘love.’ It’s a hunger; an appetite.
(Something of an aside: I am not much of a fan of the psalms in that I do not look to them for comfort. I find them repetitive and I struggle to stay interested. I know I’m not supposed to confess that in my circles, but it is true and sometimes it bothers me when others speak of the psalms as a source for their joy. I suppose it should be for me. I am not ignorant of fancy verse and I’ve read [and metered and dissected] plenty of it. Yet, I struggle to connect to the psalms. Perhaps it is the prevalence of pastoral imagery. Maybe it’s just me. I am, though, a fan of the psalmists and they point us to God in ways beyond their words. As long as they aren’t boring me, of course.)
The hunger must stay. It is a new hunger, but a familiar one. We talk a lot of “God-shaped holes in our hearts,” and that is an interesting picture for the hunger of most men. We speak of God’s mercies as “new every day.” And surely they must be. My crimes are rather prolific, but so is the guileless hunger that wakes me up in the morning.
This week we celebrate His entering into mortality. The coming together of Word and Deed in a supernatural way that, for its strangeness and incomprehensible scope, is not less but incredibly more personal. We celebrate His pain, for us, that caused the full display of His mortality; but we celebrate that His mortality becomes a picture not of finality, but instead of the passing from one venue to another; the passing from time to eternity — “aionion.” Not forever; not and endless number of days. Not time at all.
At the threshold of timelessness and time He abides. Every day is present. Every pain and joy and intervention and friendship and love and creative breath is now. And He did it — and does it — for us. He does it for our food and our music. And for our sins. He does it for our selves.
And so we say He is Risen. He is risen indeed.