Senses & Lent: Holy Stomach Aches

Welcome to Week 5: Taste and see that the Lord is... bitter?

This week we're looking at mouths and tasting as we delve into week 5 (yes, I had to double check that!) of using our senses to help us focus our minds and hearts on Jesus this Lent.

Included is:

🍯 a hymn you might want to pop on

🍯 a Bible verse

🍯 a short thought to help us seek Jesus through our sense of taste

🍯 a challenge

...all designed to draw us into a closer walk with Jesus this Lent.

(In case the concept of the 5 senses is ringing a bell - yes, it was the theme for the 2022 Creative Christianity Summit! Everything you need through Lent is going to be here on the blog, don’t panic.

However if you paid for the 2022 Creative Christianity Summit, can we encourage you to dip back into it? Even if you don’t have time to listen to all the sessions, it’s worth popping on the worship sessions with Lou & Nathan Fellingham.)

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Suggested hymn: Speak O Lord by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend

The first few words of this just fit so well with the Bible verse today:

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your holy Word

We've included the link to Youtube below but it should be available wherever you normally stream your music.

Red Line

Taste and see that the Lord is... bitter?

The verse that instantly springs to mind regarding taste in the Bible is surely “taste and see that the Lord is good”. It comes quickly to the tongue, doesn’t it? We can glibly state it. But instead I’ve gone to Revelation for a more unusual, but perhaps more nuanced, verse:

Revelation 10:9: So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’”

God is good. Absolutely. But sometimes we rewrite that into: safe, kind, gentle, will-make-all-our-paths-smooth-and-problem-free, even easygoing perhaps. (In the words of Mr Beaver: "'Course he isn't safe but he is good.")

In John’s vision in Revelation, God’s words are hard to stomach. They don’t sit easy with him. Yet John is still commanded to take the scroll, even though God knows it will cause him stomach ache.

Sometimes we are left wrestling with the knowledge God is good and that we don’t appear to be experiencing this. We chew over His Words and yet they trouble us in our gut because it feels like He’s breaking His Word or because we haven’t understood His character right. It’s stomach churning when the rug gets pulled out from under us.

I cannot honestly state I understand why and how God works. For many of us, this will be a lifelong battle when what we are experiencing doesn’t sit comfortably in the pew with us. Those are the times when we have to sit and chew God’s Word, let it cause us stomach ache, and yet know we must continue on.

John, after eating the scroll, is told to go back and prophesy again. A similar vision is given to Ezekiel (Chapter 3) and again he is told to go and tell God’s people things they won’t like.

Our mouths take in food but also speak out words. As we’ve walked through Lent, the challenge has been to focus our attention on Jesus, but as we’ve focused and been drawing closer to Him, we must never become gluttons who are gorging themselves on God’s presence with no intention of spreading the Good News we have been given.

We must ‘eat’ God’s Word, if necessary let it make us uncomfortable, and then we must go and tell others about Jesus.

Let's call it a challenge this week...

This week we're going out of our comfort zone! Much as I'd love to 'assign' a nice tiffin recipe that keeps us tucked away in our kitchens, the challenge that came to me at the end of the thought:

Invite someone who isn't in your 'natural friend group' to a meal or cup of tea/coffee. This can be someone from church who just isn't someone you've naturally gravitated to, or it could be someone outside church. Pray through your options and then go for it!

You've got a bit longer with this week's challenge as we're going to sit here until Palm Sunday! Check back next Saturday for a highlight reel of Holy Week!

And if you have the 2022 Creative Christianity Summit, why not spend some time recapping Day 5 this week?

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