Aug 21

Rev Gav

How can we be spiritually fed?

Rev Gav shares his love of food, both in the physical and spiritual sense. When you are spiritually fed you experience life in all its fullness.

John 6:22-40

We all like to be fed don’t we?

I like to be fed. In fact, I love food. To be honest, I like to think of myself as something of a foodie. I enjoy creative, flavourful, food experiences, and tasting delicious wines. It is my secret vice! Some might call me greedy (but not me!) If the stomach is the way to a man’s heart, then I have done very well marrying my wife, for she loves cooking and is a superb chef.

The point is that, because I love food, I am always putting myself in cafés and restaurants where I can get more of it. My wife and I like to try new places, new cuisines, and new recipes. Whether it is a plate of antipasti with smoked meats, a selection of Italian cheeses, ciabatta bread, and olive tapenade; or the succulent Mentai Ebi from the sushi restaurant; a once-in-a-blue-moon fine dining experience at one of our top restaurants; Jeremy-who-lives-next-door’s marinated and super-slowly, melt-in-your-mouth barbecued ribs; or freshly caught amberjack rolled in rosemary and turmeric and shallow fried with butter and lemon; yep, I love my food!

Do you think I wrote this when I was hungry?

Back to the point. If we want to be fed, and to be fed well, and gain all we can from the world of culinary possibilities, then perhaps sitting in a McDonalds night after night is not going to get us there. And as human beings, we do not just need to be fed physically, we also need to be fed emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. We need to be fed in body, mind, and spirit.

You see, it is possible for us to invest a great deal of our time in our physical, emotional, and intellectual well-being, and not our spiritual well-being. Think about it. Take yesterday for example. What did you do with your time yesterday? If you tracked the time you spent on physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual activities, how would it divide up? I expect for most of us, we spent little or no time on our spiritual well-being, and if you think about it logically, if we are body, mind, and spirit, then this is a bit bonkers as the spirit bit it is one third of who we are!

I acknowledge that our body, mind, and spirit are inseparable, and that it is possible to nurture one’s spirituality whilst engaging in physical and mental activities. I am just pointing out that, to be fully human and to have life in all its fullness, we must not neglect being spiritually fed.

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty,” and Christians assert that the source and supplier of our spiritual food is Jesus Christ. As Jesus was and is God, the author of all life, it should come as no surprise that Jesus knows we need to be connected to God through him. This was a hard teaching for his listeners to accept, and it is also difficult for people today — not the concept of being saved through someone giving their life — but that our fullness of life comes through the life of Jesus Christ.

Jesus says that to have life in all its fullness we need to feed on him. So how do we get spiritually fed? The answer is through faith. As Jesus has ascended to the Father, it is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, that does the feeding, and there are many modes or mechanisms through which we can be fed by the Holy Spirit. These modes or mechanisms are sometimes called Spiritual Disciplines. Most Christians are familiar with the spiritual disciplines of Bible reading and prayer, and I could provide you with a long list of spiritual disciplines, but it is important that we never limit the way in which we might be spiritually fed. However, without faith, then no amount of activity will enable us to be spiritually fed. Faith is the key to establishing the connection between us and God.

For example, when I talk with my sister, who lives in Australia, I am open to talking to her and hearing from her, but there are many ways or methods with which we can communicate. There is Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, WhatsApp, Messenger, Signal, Kik, Forums, Facetime, Skype, Zoom, Telephone, Telegram, SnapChat, Email, and more. And of course, sometimes, we meet up face-to-face. But unless I am open to talking to her then we will never have a conversation!

In the same way, to connect with God, you must have faith — even just the tiniest amount — so that when you undertake any activity, you are open to being fed by God. When you have faith, you open a channel between you and God, and then the mode or mechanism in which that feeding takes place is up for grabs.

So, what are the means by which we can be spiritually fed? Prayer, Fasting, Nature, Science, Social Care, Communion, Baptism, Laying on of Hands, Silence, Sermons, Bible Reading, Music, Art, Dreams, Visions… The list is endless because there are as many ways of God feeding us as there are ways of being and doing.

I was once asked by a dancer if the dancer could worship God and hear from God through dance. I said, “Of course!” and so the dancer danced to God. Dance was his thing. It was the way he expressed himself and understood the world, and it was perfectly natural that dance would be the way in which the Spirit fed him. But here is the point. He danced with faith.

So the vital question for you today is, how do you get fed by God? What is it that you do to allow God to feed you spiritually? There is no right or wrong answer. As human beings, we are wonderfully diverse, and the Holy Spirit is wonderfully diverse in feeding us, however, what if you do not know how you are best spiritually fed? Well, let us spend a moment thinking about it. Right now, think of a moment or a time you felt close to God? It may be when you were reading the Bible, allowing the words to wash over you and fill you? It may be when you read inspiring and creative messages here delivered by stunningly handsome pastors (cough)? But…

Perhaps it was when you were out on the water or walking in nature?

Perhaps it was when you sat in the quiet and stopped and breathed?

Perhaps it was when you sang or listened to a Mozart vesper and you felt the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end?

Perhaps it was when you fed the poor and the hungry?

Perhaps it was when you wondered at a piece of art?

Whatever it was. Whenever it was. Do it again. Grab it and repeat it, because when you do these things with and through faith, you will be spiritually fed and experience life in all its fullness.

Have a blessed week.

Rev Gav

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