As I was studying what to write today, I wanted to look up the meaning of the word “murmur.” Do you know what popped up first in my research? Yep, heart murmurs. The sound your heart makes when it’s sick. I thought about this for a while and decided there was real wisdom here.
When I am murmuring (think questioning or doubting or complaining), that’s the “sound” my soul is making through my mouth that I am spiritual ill! Because all spiritual illness starts in our deepest selves, and getting to that deep would; that deep illness, means I have to discern past all the shallow symptoms I’d rather focus on instead of the scary honesty of where I’m really broken in my life.
Turns out, if I pay attention to my “heart murmurs” I’ll get the chance to be healed!
Look at our lesson today in John 6:40-44:
The Lord said to the Jews who believed in him: “This is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The central message of Jesus is victory over death and an eternal life IF we are connected to Him Who IS Life Himself! And, as usual, this central message of the Lord upsets people. They start to murmur.
And what are they upset about? The fact that the Lord says that He is “the bread that came down from heaven.” These Jews, as we said before, know exactly what the Lord is referencing. He’s talking about how God sent bread from heaven after the Jews were set free from Egypt and they were traveling to the Promised Land. They would have starved if God hadn’t provided for their needs as they traveled. This part of the Story of the Exodus from Egypt is a formative and central story that provides the Jews with their very identity as “God’s Chosen People.”
These Jews, like us, don’t do well when they are confronted with the Truth that their ideas of who they are and God’s reality of who we all are differ. Like them, we say “Wait a minute God! I thought I was suppose to be happy, or comfortable, or free of worry. This isn’t turning out like I thought it would, God!” So these Jews say “We know this man’s daddy. How can He say He comes down from heaven? Who does He think He is?”
You see the Lord’s knowledge of Who He is threatens the identity of these men who thought they had this whole God-thing figured out! And their discomfort with the Lord’s words cause them to reveal their spiritual illness in their murmuring.
That’s what the Faith is suppose to do: reveal to you where you’re spiritually ill. And the Faith ALWAYS does that, but we confuse our symptoms with anger or upset or disbelief and we miss the healing opportunity the Faith gives us when it uncovers our spiritual brokenness. It’s when I’m not attentive to these opportunities when I’m murmuring that I slip into anger or despair or hopelessness. It’s like being asleep at the wheel and missing your exit when you’re trying to get to a specific destination. Then you have to turn around and get back on the right road!
Today, are you attentive to your own life enough to hear where you have a “heart murmur?” God, in His deep and eternal love for you, is offering you a chance to discover where you need His grace in your life. If you’re humble and attentive enough to hear then you’ll be able to be healed by being Orthodox on Purpose.