A church musician employed by two churches for back-to-back Sunday services arrived at her second job to find the congregation was to celebrate Holy Communion that morning. “I won’t be receiving here,” she told the guest minister. “I took at the other church, and it just seems too much to get it here as well.”

When time came for the sacrament, the congregation proceeded to the Table to commune by intinction. The adults took little pieces of broken bread and dipped them in the chalice. But a boy of about nine or ten passed up those tiny portions for half of the large country biscuit-sized host the minister had blessed and torn.

This story seems to me to be a parable of the way people approach spirituality and their relationship with Jesus. Invited to “taste and see that the Lord is good,” some, like the musician, pick at their food or even refuse it. But then they wonder why they’re so hungry and crave so much all the time, why they’re always going after unhealthy snacks to satisfy their longings. A variation of the same approach is practiced by the “samplers.” Just give us a little bit every three months or so, they say, and that will do. And, by the way, all our food has to be comfort food, the familiar and immediately palatable. Nothing new or strange, nothing that might challenge or excite our taste buds. Anything else just seems “too much.”

Others, though, like the boy, can’t get enough of the Living Bread. They stuff their souls with his teaching, pulling off a big piece to chew on awhile. They savor the aroma, feel the texture, delight in the flavor. And then they want more. And still more. They feast on the Word every day, and they desire the Eucharist very often, for they long to be filled up with all the good things God in Christ has to offer. They trust the rich promise of God: “I am sending you grain, wine, and oil, and you will be satisfied” (Joel 2:19). And then they say with the psalmist: “My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips” (Psalm 63:5).

I’m reluctant to say the latter approach/attitude is right and the former wrong. But it might be worth remembering that we follow a Savior who enjoyed life so much that he was called a glutton and a drunkard (Matthew 11:19). And let us also recall that Jesus came to give life “abundantly” (John 10:10).


© 2008 by Tom Cheatham