Hungering for Life
Tuesday of Pentecost 28
20 November 2018
English has only one word for "life." Greek is richer and more nuanced than English. Greek has a word for true living that is quite beyond our hearts beating, our brains functioning, and the health of our bodies. The living that the widow gives away at the temple (Mk 12:41-44) is mere existence. Mere existence is not true living. Greek has a different word for true living. The word gives us a girl's name that is common among us: Zoe. This is the name Adam gives to his wife in Genesis: "The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living" (Gn 3:20). Eve means "the living," or in Greek "Zoe." Eve was not the one who gave mere beating hearts. She is the forbearer of the Messiah who would give the life that cannot die; a life that truly lives and flourishes when physical death comes, our heart stops beating, and our brain stops functioning. She is the life of all living because her Seed is the one who gives true life to those who have none. Christ, her Seed, is the life of all the living.

This life points forward to a life that survives when the heart stops beating. This life points forward to a life where God himself is alone feeding us. It points to a life where the kingdom is being fulfilled. It points to a life where Jesus is everything, whom we shall see face-to-face. It points forward to the end of all things that have to do with mere existence and thrusts us along to what is truly eternal life; eternal living, a life lived in heaven itself where the true things reside. This living looks forward to seeing the Christ who was offered to bear the sins of the world and to see Him at His second appearance, when he comes not to deal with sin (because he's already dealt with it on the cross), but to save us who are eagerly waiting for him (Heb 9:28). When our Lord Jesus feeds us, we are truly eating to live, not merely living to eat.

We can come to the altar for the Supper in utter destitution. We are the poorest of the poor. The canister of flour is empty. The cruet of oil is dead dry. Like old mother Hubbard, our cupboard is bare. Our spirits are poor. Our hearts are filled with anxiety and trouble. We hunger and thirst for righteousness. Even our earthly possessions weigh us down. But all of that must be left at the altar in the hands of our gracious Lord. The Lord rushes in with his abundance and meets our poverty. He has sacrificed Himself for us to be our true food. He overflows the pantry of his grace. The Lord comes with the richness of his body and blood and fills the starved soul. He satisfies the hungry heart with good things. Let us keep up this hunger, because only the empty will be filled.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Martin Luther

"The name which Adam gives his wife is a very pleasing and delightful name. For what is more precious, better, or more delightful than life? Familiar is the popular little verse: 'That you may purchase back your life'; for neither gold nor jewels nor the wealth and glory of the whole world can be compared to life, just as Christ also says in Mt 16:26. The Jews commonly give their children names derived from roses, flowers, and jewels; the name Eve, however, was not taken from valuable objects but from life itself, which surpasses all other objects.


"Moreover, Adam adds the reason: 'Because she is the mother of all living.' It is clear from this passage that after Adam had received the Holy Spirit, he had become marvelously enlightened, and that he believed and also understood the saying concerning the woman's Seed who would crush the head of the serpent. Moreover, he wanted to give an outward indication of this faith of his and lend distinction to it by means of his wife's name. He gave it to no other creature. By this designation of his wife he gave support to the hope in the future Seed, strengthened his own faith, and comforted himself with the thought that he believed in life even when all nature had already been made subject to death."

Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis, 3.20
Genesis 3:20-24

The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever-" therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. (ESV)
Feed Thy children, God most holy; Comfort sinners poor and lowly. O Thou Bread of Life from heaven, Bless the food Thou here hast given! As these gifts the body nourish, May our souls in graces flourish Till with Saints in heavenly splendor At Thy feast due thanks we render. Amen.

For all those serving the homeless with food and other necessities on Thanksgiving Day, that they would find joy in offering their best to those who are in need

For those who travel, that they would be kept safe on their sojourn and rejoice in the time they have with their families

That Thanksgiving Day would not be passed over without a true giving of thanks to the God who gives every good and perfect gift
Art: Albrecht DURER, The Adoration of the Trinity (1511)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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