Eating to Live
21 July 2017
New Orleanians do not eat to live, they live to eat. Perhaps there is a faint intimation of the life of the kingdom to come in the fine culinary spirit that pervades the city of New Orleans. The Bread of life we eat to live, but our hunger for it means that we also live to eat. However, our earthly predicament means that we fallen humans are plagued by food. Either there is too little and we starve, or there is too much and we gain unnecessary pounds. We fail to achieve the golden mean of just enough food in which to delight and not so much that we are guilty of gluttony.
In heaven, no such dilemma will exist for us humans. There will be a paradisiacal variety of food, delight in its consumption, without the need to eat. Neither will we live to eat, making an idol of what is only a means. The food provided at the banqueting table of the messianic King will have a perfection that partakes of divinely justifying wholeness (Rev 21:6). And if whole, would it not share anti-typical fullness? We know not if it will be the very body and blood of the King who feeds us at His altar-table now. That is the food that now we eat to live and live to eat. How we could eat it where we neither eat to live nor live to eat, is a mystery. Could the anti-type be less than the type? I doubt it, but we'll find out later.
Eating and food consumption in the heavenly paradise highlights the nature of the resurrection and the eternal life promised us by our God. We will be blessed by God's power with bodies of a spiritual sort. We will not be pure spirits. Heavenly life is not one long "Casper, the Friendly Ghost" episode. Weakness and need will no longer bog down our bodies. For this we hope ever more fervently as we age. But we will not be disembodied spirits for our God did not create us so. He made Adam flesh by the dust of the earth. He renovates that flesh by the incarnation of His Son. To become pure spirit would deny the goodness of the creation and the power of the incarnation of Christ. 

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Augustine of Hippo

"At the resurrection, the bodies of the righteous shall need neither food to preserve them from dying of disease or the wasting decay of old age, nor any other physical nourishment to allay the cravings of hunger or of thirst. For they shall be invested with so sure and every way inviolable an immortality, that they shall not eat except when they choose, nor be under the necessity of eating, while they enjoy the power of doing so. For so also was it with the angels who presented themselves to the eye and touch of men, not because they could not do otherwise, but because they were able and desirous to accommodate themselves to men by a kind of ministry shaped to human needs. Nor should we suppose, when men receive them as guests, that the angels eat only in appearance, though to any who did not know them to be angels they might seem to eat from the same necessity as ourselves....
"But if in the case of the angels another opinion seems more able to be defended, certainly our faith leaves no room to doubt regarding our Lord Himself, that even after His resurrection. When now in spiritual but yet real flesh, He ate and drank with His disciples; for not the power, but the need, of eating and drinking is taken from these bodies. And so they will be spiritual, not because they shall cease to be bodies, but because they shall subsist by the life-giving spirit.
"For as those bodies of ours, that have a living soul, though not as yet a quickening spirit, are called soul-informed bodies, and yet are not souls but bodies, so also those bodies are called spiritual--yet God forbid we should therefore suppose them to be spirits and not bodies--which, being quickened by the Spirit, have the substance, but not the unwieldiness and corruption of flesh. Man will then be not earthly but heavenly, not because the body will not be that same body which was made of earth, but because by its heavenly endowment it will be a fit inhabitant of heaven, and this not by losing its nature, but by changing its quality. The first man, of the earth and made of dust, (1Co 15:57), was made a living soul, not a quickening spirit, which rank was reserved for him as the reward of obedience. Therefore his body, which required meat and drink to satisfy hunger and thirst, and which had no absolute and indestructible immortality, but by means of the tree of life warded off the necessity of dying, and was thus maintained in the flower of youth, this body, was certainly not spiritual, but animal. Yet he would not have died but that he provoked God's threatened vengeance by offending (Gn 3). And though sustenance was not denied him even outside Paradise, yet, being forbidden the tree of life, he was delivered over to the wasting of time, at least in respect of that life which, had he not sinned, he might have retained perpetually in Paradise, though only in an animal body, till such time as it became spiritual in acknowledgment of his obedience."

Augustine, The City of God, 13.22-23
2 Corinthians
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. 
We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also. 
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty." (ESV)
Lord Christ, You have become flesh that our flesh would be returned to its intended state. Keep us desiring ever more of the food of life at the altar which You have set. Grant us ever greater hope in the feast which is yet to come when you return in triumph. Amen.
For our government, that God our Lord would grant the gift of peace and quietness
For the unemployed, that they might find gainful employment
For all those who are near death, that the holy angels would attend them
Art: Albrecht DURER,  The Adoration of the Trinity (1511)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2017
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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