So, you all know that I missed the meeting of the Bible study on Sunday and that the leader wanted to make it up to me. From a Facebook post, I knew she was meeting on Wednesday at Starbuck’s to talk about Esther and Ruth, but I didn’t think I would make it. I’m too busy. This bit of info will be important in a paragraph or two. I promise.
This week’s Bible study started out with a request to do a “fast” from negative thinking for 24 hours. It also wanted us to reflect on this passage, “Pleasant thoughts are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24, NIV)
I totally believe in the power of positive thinking, so I was like, awesome, let’s do it!
So, here’s how my train of thought went in the past 12 hours. Last night, as instructed, I read from John 5-8. FYI, I find the Bible difficult to read. I can’t be the only one. And I’m like an avid reader. I’ve usually got two or three books going at a time. But the Bible? It doesn’t give me the kind of narrative details that I want to know.
So, I get to this part. For those who want a more interactive experience, it starts at John 6:51.
51 I am the living bread which came down from Heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever, and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.
I am confused. And apparently, so are the men he’s speaking to.
52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
I know, right?!
53 Then Jesus said to them, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.
54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Like a zombie!
I know I’m not the first person to have had that thought, but that’s exactly where my mind went. Here I am trying to think positive thoughts and I start imagining Jesus as a zombie. And that’s not what’s supposed to happen.
55 For My flesh is food indeed and My blood is drink indeed
56 He who eats My flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
Is Jesus speaking metaphorically? Like belief in him is as sustaining as a 9 grain loaf of bread and a glass of organic milk? And if so, why doesn’t he just say so? What would happen to Jesus in 2012 having this same conversation? I don’t mean to sound disrespectful of Jesus, but people would casually dismiss him as someone who watches The Walking Dead perhaps a little too enthusiastically.
Okay, so I finished reading the John chapters and then I went on to the next part of the study about choices. I was asked to think of a time when God asked me to do something difficult or risky.
And that’s the problem right there. How do I know if God is talking to me?
So, I drifted off to sleep and woke up as I usually do at 6am. I stumbled out of bed and shuffled towards my kitchen. Usually, I can smell coffee which makes me feel better, but this morning there was no coffee. The light on the coffee maker was on, but there was nothing in the pot. I checked to see if I’d remembered to put water in the well. Yep. Coffee was loaded. I unplugged it. I plugged it back in. I pressed the button repeatedly. I prayed. Please God, I can’t function without my coffee. You should know this. Please make the coffee maker work.
But it didn’t. God had a different plan. He didn’t tell me this plan because he wasn’t talking to me, but I immediately thought of the Starbucks down the street. Yes, the exact Starbucks where my Bible study leader and a group of women were meeting in three hours. I couldn’t wait that long to wake up, so I went to the drive through, but the seed was planted.
With a rather fuzzy mind, I thought about belief in God this morning. Blame it on the lack of caffeine in my system or the previous night’s vision of Jesus as a Zombie, but I thought of an old vampire flick from the 80’s called “Fright Night.” Hollywood recently remade it. I haven’t seen the old version since the 80’s, but I vaguely remember a scene with Chris Sarandon as the vampire confronting the vampire killer. The man grabs a crucifix to ward off Chris Sarandon’s advances. Chris Sarandon is not amused nor is he scared. He laughs and crushes the crucifix with his hand. “You have to have faith for this to work on me.” In other words, you’ve got to have faith.
And now a musical interlude.
Which brings me to the Bible Study group at Starbuck’s and elephants in the room.
So, I showed up and we all gathered at a front table. I pretty much monopolized the entire conversation with questions and the story of my coffee maker which might or might not be a sign from God. I asked about how God could speak to me. Would I hear a voice? Should I be looking for signs?
The Bible study leader contemplated this question carefully and said that there could be signs, but it’s not like she could “Ask God for a sign, like the next person to walk through the door will be wearing a blue shirt.” Her back was to the door, and I kid you not, just as she said this, a man wearing a blue button down shirt walked through the door.
“He just did,” I deadpanned.
I took it as a sign, but then again, I’m kind of kooky and look for meaning in broken coffee makers.
We all got a good laugh out of that one. And then I asked if I could attend church with her next month. And it’s a go. And then she began to tell me about this class at her church called the elephant in the room and one was about gay marriage. And I was like “For the record, I’m all for it.” I was alone in this sentiment, which leads me back to thoughts about belief.
I’m running a little long with this post. Don’t worry, folks. I’m not going to take my rainbow colored ball and leave the playground. I’m in. Open heart, open mind. Things happen for a reason. At least in my book they do.
I’m gonna leave you with a song.