Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Hunger Game

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Righteousness is such an awkward term. It sounds pious and moralistic. Who would aspire to be righteous? It sounds like a virtue that a cloistered monk or nun would aspire to, but not the ordinary person.

The word is badly misunderstood. Let me explain it. It means “to be in right relationship.” That is something everyone can identify with. We value relationships. In a spiritual context it means “to be in right relationship with God, oneself, others and creation.”

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” He is talking about people who hunger for true spirituality - for a true understanding and experience of God and oneself. This translates into peace and harmony in interpersonal relationships and lifestyle.

There are few who hunger for righteousness like a starving person hungers for food, or thirsts for it like a dehydrated person thirsts for water. Most people treat spirituality like a game to play on weekends. This is no game - just like the Hunger Games, portrayed in Suzanne Collins bestselling books, were no mere games. This is a matter of life and death.

There is a saying: “If you want to find God, yearn for Him like a drowning man yearns for air.” The psalmist sang: “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

That is all it takes. There are no methods to employ or spiritual techniques to learn. There is no secret wisdom or knowledge to be gained. There are no essential rites or practices. All that God desires is a heart that yearns for him. Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.”

All it takes is sincere intent. Jesus says later in the Sermon on the Mount, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

When one desires God more than anything else – more than silver and gold, more than air and water, more than love and happiness - then the door to the Kingdom opens. Blessing pours out, and one is filled. “My cup runneth over.” Everything is right. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

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