Message Supplement (2 August 2015)

“Spiritual Tofu.” That’s the strange message title today. It may conjure an odd mental image but the point is that we are confronted with a chewy spiritual problem (similar to poorly-prepared tofu—yuck!).

Recall last week’s message wherein Jesus had fed a crowd that then tried to force him to rule. Jesus refused such overtures and he and his closest followers fled across the Sea of Galilee. The group then found temporary respite in Jesus’ Capernaum base. Persistent, the insatiable, forceful crowd found boats of their own and sailed to meet Jesus in Capernaum.

As you might expect, the crowd was drawn to Jesus, but not for the right reason. The lure of free food motivated them and they sought more bread. Jesus confronted his recent fans by cautioning them against preoccupation with perishable bread (the kind that only feeds the belly). Jesus came to give the bread of life—soul food. Sure, we all need to eat to keep our bodies healthy. The issue is recognizing that our souls also need some form of nourishment. “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’ “ (John 6:35).

It’s not always easy to separate our physical needs from our spiritual requirements. One the one hand, if you don’t eat or drink you’ll feel weak and eventually die from dehydration or starvation. On the other hand, if you don’t pray, don’t think about God, don’t do anything spiritual, things can seem to be going okay with no apparent problems. Yet for people who seek spiritual food the need for God’s Spirit is critical. Spiritual malnourishment won’t kill you as quickly as lacking food and water, but you’ll nonetheless wither from the inside out.

Are you getting fed? Do you have the soul food necessary to survive and thrive in your faith life? Have you embraced Jesus’ redemption and have you accepted him as the Lord of your life? “For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (John 6:33).

There’s much more to spiritual life than simply sitting in a pew on Sunday. We need to be active, engaged participants to achieve spiritual health. We must feed our spirits even when we aren’t in church. It’s worth the effort. It may require experimentation, but you might try a combination of spiritual disciplines such as praying, reading religious texts, and participating in a faith study. Most of all, receiving and sharing God’s love and truth can open that vital God connection. Each day we make choices about our attitude and behavior. Therefore, we can demonstrate our spiritual health when we think and act in a way that keeps us positive while also honoring God.

Grow strong in the Lord and in the power of divine might. I want to partner with you as we build a stronger church one person at a time. And to achieve faith strength we need a good diet. Feeding your spirit is a continual process, no matter who you are and no matter where you are. Invite God into your life and claim the blessings and promises. Seek empowerment from heaven. Hunger and thirst for more than what pleases your literal taste buds. The greatest delicacy you’ll savor is the heavenly manna, the source of wonderful blessings (something even better than my finest skillet-browned tofu, which is nonetheless quite good when seasoned properly).  –Reverend Larry Hoxey