‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.Matthew 5:6
By Rev. Jeremy W Scott
This passage comes from the Beatitudes, a sort of new 10 commandments for those who will follow Jesus. Instead of focusing on what actions to do and not do, Jesus’s new commandments focus on other things, like what to strive for. With this one we have an interesting mix of the very vicarial ideas of hunger and thirst mixed with what I might call a $5 word, righteousness. I don’t expect many of spend time really concerning ourselves with the question of how righteous we are.
Honestly, the idea of righteousness is likely most linked in our minds to the idea of self-righteousness that we don’t want to have much to do with it at all. That’s a bit if a shame.
A different translation of the Bible called the message translates this same scripture this way, “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.” I have a strong appetite for a lot of things that is for sure, but I wonder if God is sometimes one?
One practice I have taken on during the strange days of Covid is baking each month’s communion bread. Before a small army of folks worked behind the scenes to make sure we had all we needed to serve 175 communion each first Sunday of the month. Many of that small army (and many more) now work to make sure we have 130+ communion kits prepared and delivered each month so folks can participate at home. What the leaves then is just the bread I actually break during the communion ritual. As someone who enjoys the kitchen most times my daughter Vivianne and I make the bread ourselves. As a consequence, my house and the whole church smell like fresh baked bread every time we do it.
When the time for communion finally arrives, I’ve been smelling the bread for almost two full hours. Let me tell you, when I finally get a bit, sweetly moistened by a dip in the juice, it may not be the best meal I’ve ever eaten, but it’s pretty darn good.
Jesus is looking for us to have such a strong desire to follow after God, to put into practice in our lives the values God is trying to teach us, and be so excited to practice loving God, loving neighbor, and loving ourselves, it’s like fresh baked bread we’ve been smelling for hours. I’m not sure I always reach that place, but from Jesus’s own words we know there is blessing even in the trying.