“By the time we got to Woodstock…” Sorry, in advance for putting that song in your head for the rest of the day. But there is one quote more from that famous Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young song I want to share: “We are stardust, we are golden, we are caught in the devil’s bargain, And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.”
It turns out there is real science behind the notion of stardust being a major makeup of our “carbon-based” selves. Of course, there are some that look at that science and say “See, there is no god. We’re just accidental products of random chemical reactions.” You won’t be surprised to hear from me that I happen to look at the same evidence and see something very different. I see evidence of a common Creator, using the “stuff” of His own making to make all that is. We really are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Look at our Gospel Lesson today in Mark 14:10-42:
At that time, Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray Jesus to them. And when they heard it they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him. And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the passover?” And he sent two of his disciples, and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the householder, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I am to eat the passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” And the disciples set out and went to the city, and found it as he had told them; and they prepared the passover. And when it was evening he came with the twelve. And as they were at table eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be sorrowful, and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. For the Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Read the rest. It’s worth it!)
Our Lord Jesus begins to come to the last week of His life before He gives Himself up for the life of the world. He tells His disciples He will be betrayed; some of them will deny they even know Him, and He asks His closest disciples to help Him “watch” while He prays in the garden. In the midst of all that He says something absolutely and cosmically transforming! As they recline at the table, He takes Bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to His disciples and says “‘Take; this is my body.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, ‘This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many.'” (Mark 14:22-24)
The timeless faith finds friends in the recent discoveries of physics. God, our Creator has taken the “stuff” of this world and filled it with Himself and now calls us to recognize His Presence in what we foolishly dismiss as only “physical.” He teaches us in giving Himself to us as the only real “food” we will ever truly need, and the only real “drink” that will ever truly satisfy our deepest thirst, that He has given us His creation, and, ultimately, even Himself, for our life.
Today, the Orthodox faith offers you, yes, you, in all your educated and sophisticated and modern self, real food for your deepest hunger and real drink for your most profound thirst. Every Divine Liturgy He takes our offerings and fills them up with Himself and then returns our gifts to us to nourish us, heal us, and make us like Himself. After all, it turns out you really are what you eat! No wonder being Orthodox on Purpose fills our lives with meaning!
P.S. O Lord, You are the Maker and Lover of Mankind! You have filled Creation with Yourself by becoming flesh for our salvation and now You Call us to take the “stuff” of this world and reveal You and Your love to the world. Grant us, O Lord, the courage to keep making You visible in Your Creation, O Only Lover of Mankind. Amen.