Today’s Reading: Exodus 13:1-16:8
I was awakened this morning by the rolling thunder of a storm passing over our house; as the thought of the jug of orange juice in our fridge passed through my mind. Yup, orange juice. This is how God starts the conversation this morning, a booming ORANGE JUICE! And then says to me “there’s always enough to go around, it’s the blood of Christ in communion.” Yes, in this house communion isn’t always your standard grape juice. Sometimes the good old orange juice gets broken out and passed around because it’s the juice we have in the house. Have you ever made orange juice before? The first thing that you do is you roll the orange on the counter pressing it firmly with the palm of your hand in order to break the membranes inside so that you will be able to get more juice out of it in the end. Then you take a nice sharp knife and you pierce the orange cutting it in half. Then you take a torture device called a juicer and jam it down through the center of the orange half squeezing the orange half round and round the juicer until there is nothing left but an empty shell of skin.
The next thing that God showed me this morning with the next rumble of thunder was a vision of Jesus standing on the top of a beautifully round green mound of earth with a round loaf of bread in His hands holding it skyward and giving thanks to the Father for it. He then looked upon that single loaf of bread expected to feed the ravenous multitudes seated before Him and He broke it in half, handed one half to a waiting (and also hungry) disciple. Then He looked once more at the whole loaf in His hands, broke it in two once more and handed another half to another hungrily awaiting disciple. This continued over and over again, each time Jesus broke the round loaf in half, handed the right half to a waiting disciple to disperse to the crowd and then looked down upon the loaf once more again made whole until finally the entire multitude was satisfied and fed with hands on full rounded bellies, crumbs falling from their drowsy lips and pieces of bread round lying all over the green grass. More than enough.
With the next thunderous roar from the Lion of Judah He showed me the half-eaten pan of salted caramel fudge sitting in my fridge, aluminum foil still stuck to its gooey caramel dripping out around the edges. I saw myself prying the delectable prize from the pan, a small piece of foil refusing to let go of the sticky sweetness in my hand. And I put it all in my mouth, foil and all, in order to suck the sea salted caramel off the shiny surface not wanting to waste even the tiniest bit of the addictive substance.
Each of these things, made to be in the mouth, on the tongue, in the belly, not in the containers or wrappers. Like communion bread and juice, Jesus’ body and blood – His life, they were made to always be on our lips, always on our minds, always in our bellies like rivers of living waters but that couldn’t happen until they were removed from the container. This happened on the cross when He cried out His last “It is finished” and gave up His Spirit. The Spirit of Jesus, like the juice from a fruit, was removed from its container; like a loaf of bread His body was broken over and over and over again in order to make us whole. Like sea salted caramel fudge the communion, or Eucharist, of Jesus begs to be taken out of the fridge, off the pan and placed into our mouths, rolled around our tongues where His gooey sweetness can drip down our throats and fill our bellies. When we have tasted we will see His goodness and mercy pursuing us all the days of our lives.
Lastly, as the final touch in the conversation that caused me to throw back the covers and race to find my computer in the dark stillness of the very early morning He showed me the centerpiece of the Garden of Eden the Tree of Life. When Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit, believed the lie of the Enemy, God decided that it was far too dangerous for them to eat from the Tree of Life and live forever in their broken state. So He devised a plan that would save us all from the food poisoning of that fruit.
The entire Bible is all about the cross, every word of the Old Testament points forward to it, and every word of the New Testament and our lives points back to it. As The Tree of Life, the cross is the tree that brings us life. It stands in the middle of history, the centerpiece of the garden of Life and Love. When we have eaten the fruit from it, believe the truth of the Living God, we become far too dangerous for the Enemy to stand against in his now broken state. When we taste and swallow and eat the truth that Jesus died to set us free because He loves us, we become immortal, in that very moment. Not after we die physically, immediately. In the Garden of Eden when they ate the fruit of the Enemy they surely died, they died spiritually immediately. Today, because of the cross, the Tree of Life, when we eat His fruit of truth we surely LIVE!!!!! Immediately!!!!! And every time that we give thanks for that fruit, every time that we live lives filled with thankfulness we are eating and drinking Jesus’ sacrifice all over again, we are continually digesting the fruit of the Tree of Life. Gratitude is the fruit of Life!
We have so much to be thankful for, yet so often we allow those opportunities to pass as we speed by at 55 miles an hour on our way to the next event in our life. We miss the opportunity to witness the multiplication miracle of time. It’s the only thing we have on this planet that we can’t buy and will never get more of… unless we are thankful. Somehow, pressing the pause button on the speed of our life to take a moment to be thankful manages to multiply time in a way that there seems to become more of it to go around. Like taking a day off every week to relax and recharge our systems seems to multiply our energy and our minds, taking a moment here and there does the very same thing. Thankfulness is a miniature Sabbath day wrapped up in a beautiful container that begs to be opened and savored, to be passed over the lips sweetly and then digested down in order to spring back forth over our lips as words of thankfulness once again as springs of Living water from our innermost being.