Sermon Illustration: Poking and Prodding at Human Longings

In preparation for this week’s message on Jesus feeding the 5,000 from John 6 (sign #4), I came across some incredible quotes from a chapter in Winn Collier’s Holy Curiosity: Encountering Jesus’ Provocative Questions.

See if you don’t agree:

Jesus steadily asserted that our most profound hunger and thirst, the cravings that exert a compulsive influence over the person we become and the life we pursue and the dreams we clutch, can only be satisfied by eating and drinking him. During his ministry, Jesus poked and prodded at base human longings, suggesting that, properly recognized, they all point to God.

We are hungry for God to enter into our turmoil with us. Even more than the bread, what the masses most craved were the hands that broke it. Even more than the fish, what they most desired was the God who offered it to them.


And another. . .

From the earliest days of God’s community, the Lord’s Table has held central importance in public worship. In the early church, the community gathered, prayed prayers, considered the apostle’s teaching, meditated and sang using ancient psalms and newly formed hymns –and they ate. They always distributed bread and wine, but on occasion, they imbibed a full-on feast. These feasts were far less modest than the petite morsels and dainty sips that accompany our Eucharistic celebrations. The feel would have been more like the southern potlucks of my youth, where everyone in the church was encouraged to bring an entire Sunday dinner spread, enough “for your entire family plus one more.” At those meals, the serving tables bowed under the weight of food, and you felt absolutely miserable afterwards because you hadn’t paused to listen when your stomach screamed for mercy.

This generous hospitality embodies the spirit of Jesus. We find this spirit on that hillside as a man hands a basket to another man, as a mother gives bread to her children, as the people laughed and ate and had their fill. Hear their laughing. It is the noise of hospitality, the music of Christ’s body.

I love that. Don’t you?