Feed the soul (25-09-20)
Bible Reading: Isaiah 55. 1 - 3
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.
We have just returned from a fortnight’s holiday in Cornwall. It was a much appreciated break and the caravan gave us our own Covid-secure environment, so we felt quite safe. I love Cornwall with its rugged coastline, fishing coves and long surfing beaches. I enjoy watching the sea in all its different moods and there is something highly therapeutic about paddling along the water’s edge with the sand and cold water massaging my feet.
I also love the local food. This year we treated ourselves to a wonderful fish chowder fresh from the Cornish seas one lunchtime, a traditional pasty another day, numerous local Cornish ice creams, and of course several cream teas with strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream. This must rate as one of my favourites especially with additional fresh strawberries on the side! However, the enjoyment and satisfaction is only temporary. Food costs money, lasts only a short time, and meets only our physical needs.
Isaiah encourages us to come to God to discover a different kind of food, food which is free and which truly satisfies and feeds the soul. This kind of food has lasting spiritual nourishment. There is a sense of urgency in his call to ‘listen, listen’ to the Lord, to deliberately ‘give ear’, to come close to God and to ‘listen’ again, ‘that you may live’ life in all its fullness. Maybe Isaiah realises that this kind of intentional listening to God does not come easily to most of us.
God’s salvation is freely offered, but to nourish our souls we must eagerly receive it and take it in. One version of the Bible translates verse 3, ‘incline your ear, and come to me’. The verb to incline means to be favourably disposed towards or willing to do something. It can also have the more negative implication of a tendency to do something like gossip which might be unhelpful. However, I wonder what would happen if we inclined our ear to the things of God and then had a tendency to gossip what we heard? We would nourish our own souls and the souls of others!
Gracious God, give us ears to hear your word and nourish our souls. May the rich fare of your word fill us with delight, which overflows into the lives of others. Amen.