February 24, 2019
“Eat, Pray, Love”
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Back in 2010 Julia Roberts portrayed the character Liz Gilbert in the movie “Eat, Pray, Love.” Liz had everything a modern woman is supposed to dream of having — a husband, a house, a successful career — yet like so many others, she found herself lost, confused, and searching for what she really wanted in life. Newly divorced and at a crossroads, Gilbert steps out of her comfort zone, risking everything to change her life, embarking on a journey around the world that becomes a quest for self-discovery. In her travels, she discovers the true pleasure of nourishment by eating in Italy [EAT]; the power of prayer in India [PRAY], and, finally and unexpectedly, the inner peace and balance of true love in Bali [LOVE].
The character Liz Gilbert…she set off on an adventure to find her true self. What a way to start…eating without guilt all that you would like in Italy. Then learning about spirituality and prayer in India from Buddhist monks, and finally finding true love in Bali…where do we sign up?
Eat. Pray. Love. These are things we all do…some more successfully than others. Sure when there’s a big event in our lives we might run to nourishment…a tub of chocolate ice cream and a sappy movie…or conversation with a best friend, sister, or mother. Maybe you run toward your favorite bread… wheat, barley, rye, and drink your liquid bread until your problems have faded away. But this eating doesn’t really solve any problems. It doesn’t really take any pains away…not really.
And praying. We know where to find God when we need Him. We try to bargain with God promising a change in our lives….our behaviors…our relationships and choices. Please God help me. I promise I’ll go to Church more. I promise I’ll stop doing this… I promise to reconcile with my family….or friends….whoever it was that hurt me. Just do this one thing….and I’ll act.
And love. We all want to fall in love…deep passionate true love. We want that one person that will sweep us off our feet. The one person that takes our breath away. The person that fills all of our needs and maybe even some of our wants. We all want that perfect relationship…that love that never ends!
Eat. Pray. Love. We want that. We live that. We need that. We do that….maybe more like Liz Gilbert in the movie than we realize. But the problem is that when we do these things…eat, pray, love…we usually do them for ourselves; we look inward. We eat the things we want to eat and don’t care what anyone else thinks. We pray for things we want or need and make promises we can’t keep. We love…but not perfectly…and say we look for perfection…but that lustful perfection is in the eyes of our own desire.
Scripture talks about these things too. Eat. Pray. Love. But it sounds and looks so very different. Our Gospel tells us “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:27-28) Love who? Do good to who? Bless who? Pray for who? Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who abuse you. Look action words in our text: Love, do good, bless, pray, give, be merciful, judge not, condemn not, forgive, give. And do those things to people that hurt, hate, abuse, curse, and condemn you. And might I add… if you should do that to people who hate you… how should you treat those you love? How should you treat your husband or wife, parent or child, neighbor or friend, fellow member of the Church? Exactly the same. Love. Do good. Bless. Pray. Forgive. Give. Be merciful.
But how do we do that? That’s not easy! But the answer might be. Eat. Pray. Love.
Eat: “Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28).
In the Lord’s Supper your sins are forgiven and you are given strength to overcome this world. You are given the strength to “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:27-28) as well as loving your family, friends, and neighbors.
Not only that but Jesus teaches us Himself how to pray as he tells us: “your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:8-10)
Love. But how should we love? “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34)
Eat. Pray. Love. But do so in a biblical way. Partake of the Lord’s Supper. Pray to your heavenly Father who loves you…that His will is done…and love others…even your enemies as Christ has loved you. That is a sacrificial love. Christ’s love led Him to lay down His life for those who hated Him. That is how we should love everyone in this world. That is love that shares Christ. That is love that calls sinners to repentance. That is love that forgives and forgives and forgives and keeps on forgiving. That is the love that can change our lives and the world around us. It is the love of Christ. And it is ours. Come and receive that love at our Lord’s Supper this day. Amen.