Cravings.
our “valentines” (feb 3, before my first surgery): we both had a dessert 🙂

My wife and I are completely different in one major way:  my wife could live without sugar altogether…and I crave it.  After I lost weight,  my wife noticed something about me.  One night my eyes became as wide as saucers when I saw a dessert and she said, “You really are a fat kid inside, huh?”

It is true.  I grew up with desserts all around me and I LOVE THEM.  If you’ve ever had my mother’s pies, you understand.
I’ve been acting pretty good the past week or so, but the other night I was craving a dessert.  I dutifully called my wife and asked her if she’d like me to pick up something for her, too…I already knew the answer: “No.” She is so good.  Well, I went out to the nearby Fresh Market and looked at the desserts.  I went there because I knew I could get just one single cupcake, and, from experience, I knew that the calories would be worth it at that bakery.
But, when I got home I didn’t just have just a single cupcake in my bag.  I had a whole Apple Brown Betty Pie and vanilla bean ice cream.  Who am I?  I’m a monster!
But, you know, I think it isn’t just about sugar.  For us who are “fat kids,” I have to suggest, that, in part, it is about memory.  I can almost taste the snickers bar when I am in the check-out line.  I could taste the deep vanilla of the ice cream as I picked it up off the shelf.  Worse, when I go home, the memories of my mother’s cooking is intoxicating: whether it is something universally delicious like Blackberry pie or beef stew or something like depression-era mackeral patties.  It isn’t the culinary genius as much as the memory of that food from my time growing up that makes it so amazing (but, mom, you are also a culinary genius).
church folks, can you almost taste it?
Memories are powerful things.  On Sunday, at my church, we celebrated Holy Communion.  For Christians, the taste of the bread and juice/wine are meant to draw on memory the same way as my mother’s cooking did.  For adults who grew up in the church the taste of bread and juice (wine) takes them back to memories of childhood in the church.  For the early Christians it must have been a powerful reminder of a time when Christ was in their midst doing incredible acts.  For all Christians of all times it connects us to the people who have come before us.  It is a very real connection to them.  It also reminds us of all the people who will come behind us in our living tradition.  Perhaps just as importantly: because there are churches around the world in every time zone that celebrate Communion / Eucharist daily, there are Christians constantly communing with one another and with Christ!  Communion is a very real sign that we are connected to one another and Christ no matter our distance through time and space.  It is amazing, really.
Resurrection & New Life:  Betrayed
image found at:  http://mikefriesen05.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/dealing-with-lifes-great-wounds-betrayal/

Scripture:  John 13:21-32

In the scripture today Jesus is said to know that one of his disciples will betray him.  I want you to take a moment to consider this.  How many of us would ever knowingly keep someone who will betray us in our group?  I mean, if I know someone is talking behind my back or acting jealously (etc.) you had better believe that I will stop confiding in them.  If I know that a friend does not have my best interest at heart, you’d better believe that I no longer consider them friend.  My interests have to be important to my friends, right?  My needs have to be a concern for a true friend.

Christ does not define life or friendship as you or I do.  As Jesus approached the cross, he began to make it very clear that Life is far more than what we can see or experience.  In those last days of life, Christ showed us that there is more to experience than this lone world.  When Judas is invited to continue at the meal, in fact, invited to ‘do what he must do’ but quickly…Judas is shown that he is still cared for.  Jesus remained committed to Judas even when Judas was clearly not committed to Jesus.

There will be many times when we will betray our God.  It is part of being human, by the way.  Our God will be hurt and saddened by the decisions that we make and the things that we choose to do, yet God does not send us away from the table.  Jesus not only continues to eat with Judas, he actually dips bread and feeds Judas.  Jesus feeds the one who will betray him!?  I want to suggest that this is what happens for us at communion.  Communion is the act when we come forward in church and feed upon bread and juice as a sign of being fed by Christ….when it comes to that act, we are much like Judas.  We are imperfect human beings, yet God sees beyond us and our limitations.  We will mess up and betray God, yet God will still love us, feed us, commune with us.

During Holy Week consider what it means for us to still be at God’s table after all of these millennia.  What does it mean that Christ still communes with us?  What does it mean that Christ offers body and blood for us to partake in?  What does it mean that God does this knowing that we will commit betrayals?

Christ invites all of us, even though we will mess up, to walk with Him to the cross.  Christ invites all of us to journey the Easter  experience and to know his love.  Will you journey with Christ this Easter?  Are you prepared to be loved in a new way this Easter?