Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any longer . . . your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” – Isaiah 30:20–21 (NRSV)
I’ve eaten the bread of adversity, and I wouldn’t recommend it. The label promised it would taste like grit and determination, but all it did was leave me feeling soul sick and world weary.
The same goes for the water of affliction. Don’t believe the commercials! It doesn’t make you stronger! It goes down worse than the omelet of oppression.
It’s time to clean out the communal refrigerator and throw out anything stale and moldy that comes in the form of injustice, division, discrimination, and every other morsel that looks like a treat but is actually poison. Why are we settling for scraps that leave us thirsting for connection, equity, love?
Jesus calls us back to the kitchen to try out new recipes that nourish our bodies and our spirits. My mouth waters just thinking about the possibility of a lasagna of liberation and a soup of salvation—that is the kind of food I want to feed to my children, to my neighbors, to anyone who is hungry.
Once we start cooking with ingredients that satisfy our longings and delight our senses, we might find that we have to set more places at the table. The good news is that, at Christ’s table, there is always room for more.
We hunger for the bread of life, the water of grace. Feed us, Jesus.
Liz Miller serves as the Designated Pastor of Granby Congregational Church, UCC and is the author of Only Work Sundays: A Laidback Guide to Doing Less while Helping Your Church Thrive.