Sunday, 19 March 2017 16:44

What it means to hunger and thirst for holiness

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Though the weather has not been all that bad this winter, I am ready for spring to get here. I like my lemonade (or Arnold Palmer, which is half tea and half lemonade) as my drink of choice when I go out for a meal. I get frustrated when restaurants tell me, “We do not have lemonade during the winter,” and yet they have iced tea? I don’t get it, but so be it!

Though the weather has not been all that bad this winter, I am ready for spring to get here. I like my lemonade (or Arnold Palmer, which is half tea and half lemonade) as my drink of choice when I go out for a meal. I get frustrated when restaurants tell me, “We do not have lemonade during the winter,” and yet they have iced tea? I don’t get it, but so be it!

When you drive through Marine there is a little drive-in fast food place, as well as Genenbacher’s on the K-Mart parking lot in Quincy that serves great lemonade shake-ups. I always stop to “give in” to my cravings and thirst. Each sip is as good as the next. This is always one of life’s treats that I enjoy; it’s my treat for me.

All throughout this diocese I am sure we are filled with many places to go and quench our thirst or feed our hunger. We can make our road trips to great places like Alfonzo’s Pizza in Carrollton, Michael’s in Highland, Kelly’s in Quincy, A&W in Litchfield, Wittmond Hotel in Brussels, Niemerg’s in Effingham, Krekel’s in Decatur, Sugo’s in Edwardsville, Ravanelli’s in Granite City, the Old Lux in Springfield — and the list goes on and on.

Spiritually we need to feed our souls. Lent is a great time in the church to take some time and look at my “walk with Christ.” I think too often Lent becomes a six-week time to do “extra things,” and then Easter comes and it is back to normal. To walk as an intentional disciple is much more of an intense relationship with Christ.

We hunger for certain foods even to the point of our mouths watering just thinking about “digging in” to a great big steak, or bowl of pasta. We drive to Ted Drewe’s in St. Louis because we can’t wait to “down a concrete.”

The thirst we have for some drinks is almost like the feeling of being in the desert with no water. All too often we “want that food” — we “want that drink.” We hunger, we thirst.

What sets a true “intentional disciple” apart from others is they truly hunger and thirst for Christ, for a daily encounter with the Holy Spirit and his grace. This encounter is what gives us the enthusiasm to live each day “on fire” with a life of intense discipleship to heed the Gospel, and seek first the Kingdom of God.

President Jimmy Carter was 88 years old in 2013 when he said, “I have one life and one chance to make it count for something … my faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can, with whatever I have, to try to make a difference.” At 91 he still is practicing “intentional discipleship.” His desire to serve the Lord still thirsts and hungers every day he is given. Our own Vice President Michael Pence professes himself to be an “intentional disciple,” from reading Sherry Weddell’s book, Forming Intentional Disciples. What about us?

Lent is here. We are invited to go into the desert. Maybe we are invited to go to the desert because there we will find no restaurants, no drive-ins, no more bars or places to quench our hunger and thirst. Yet in our hunger and thirst we will only have one option to seek: Jesus, the well-spring of our salvation. In the desert you can seek and find and feast on Christ himself and certainly you will have your fill. Plus you can feast all you want and you never have to go on a diet.

Faith is about truly transforming ourselves into true disciples who daily “come with him into the fields.” Let us go on this road trip together. Christ will drive; all we have to do is get in.

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