“You open Your hand…”
On Sunday, we observed All Saints’ Day. Yes, I know that All Saints’ is technically on November 1st, but we follow the custom of many of our sister congregations and make the first Sunday in November All Saints’, regardless of when it falls. Liturgical purists, be gone!
This year, I did something new: I tackled The Beatitudes—well, one of them, anyway. I preached on Christ’s promise that, despite the persecution that His people will face, they will receive a great reward in His coming kingdom. You can listen to the sermon here. I mention that, because I originally thought I was going to preach on this: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). I’ve been thinking about this, and after I did my Bible reading today, decided to post some thoughts on this promise.
At a surface level, these words are pretty clear: those who desire to be filled with righteousness will get it. But is Jesus just using hunger and thirst a metaphor, or is there something more to it?
Earlier, I brought up my daily Bible reading as part of the impetuous for writing this post, because this image came up again as I was reading Proverbs 13:25, “The righteous eats to the satisfying of his soul, but stomach of the wicked shall be in want.” Here, Solomon, the author of this proverb, makes the same point, connecting the satisfaction of the righteous with the image of eating.
Returning back to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus says later on in the same sermon that started with the Beatitudes, “…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25). He then concludes this section, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:31-33).
St. Paul also connects food to righteousness: “Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness…” (II Corinthians 9:10).
He also speaks of Christ, our righteousness like this: “For indeed, Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (I Corinthians 5:7b-8). What were the people of God to do with the Passover? Eat it, of course!
It’s no surprise, then, that Jesus actually gives righteousness to eat and drink in the fulfillment of that Passover. “Take, eat; this is My body. Take, drink; this is My blood.” Jesus, who was born in The House of Bread (Bethlehem) and calls Himself the Bread of Life (John 6), gives His flesh and blood to eat and drink to satisfy those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word
I’m going to be trying something new in this space, hoping to bring more useful content to our growing website. I’d like to give thanks to God for three men who have gotten us to this point. First, Bob Bane is the one who got Trinity Vallonia started online. Second, Matt Helwig revamped and updated the website to give you pretty close to what you see today. Third, Lance Adams has really worked to take our website to the next level by keeping it up to date and populating it with new content. Following the Apostle Paul, “I give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” (Ephesians 1:16).
Since I’ve never been a regular blogger, it’s difficult to tell you what to expect here in terms of length, number of posts, etc. However, I am committed to using this space to spend time thinking through (and, Lord willing, helping you think through) God’s Word. Since God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105), what greater task can we take up than to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the Scriptures. I hope you’ll read these posts, find Christ’s Word in them, and interact with me in the comments section. Theology is best done in conversation; as King Solomon puts it, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
To that end, let’s begin this venture (and end this blog post) with a wonderful little prayer that I often use—the Collect for the Word from The Lutheran Hymnal:
Blessed Lord, who hast caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of Thy holy Word we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which Thou hast given us in our Savior Jesus Christ, who live the and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Rev. Jordan McKinley
I’m pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Vallonia, Indiana. I’m the husband of a godly and beautiful wife (Andrea), and father to three faithful and slightly crazy kids (Naomi, Collin, and Theodore). I read the Bible professionally.