Hungry like the wolf

Duran Duran… I know I must be tired or something, but it does reflect something of how I am feeling.

I have just returned from a week long conference in Belfast. The title of the event was The Idolatry ofGod , I shall be writing up more of that at other times suffice it to say that I met some beautiful people in a fantastic place and drank a lot of Guinness.

We spent a lot of the week thinking about brokenness. Our brokenness. None of us have got life ‘sussed’, we are all bumping down the stairs like Winnie the Pooh thinking there must be a better way than this. But there isn’t, or rather there is and that is to realise that there isn’t.

During the week Anne and I spent a lot of time talking through the stuff we were discussing and one of the problems for us was the term brokenness. It just seemed like too big a word. We went on a tour of Belfast and saw a lot brokenness and it seemed inappropriate in some way to use the same term to describe a more general human condition.

One of my favourite authors, Mark Rowlands, in one of my favourite books, ‘The Philosopher and the Wolf’ describes how wolves live in the moment. They have no concept of past or future, they don’t worry what’s happened or what is going to happen, they just live in the now. If the ‘now’ is the worst moment of their lives then they just get through it and maybe the next one will be better. There is no hope or expectation, just the next moment, the next now.

At church today we heard of how, after feeding the 5000, Jesus went on to describe himself as the bread of life. Bread is an important food stuff (soda bread and Irish stew:-) and when we are hungry there is nothing like it. But our hunger returns and we have to keep feeding ourselves to keep it at bay. It occurred to me that this notion of hunger could be used in the way we have been considering our brokenness. This empty feeling, this sense of loss could be seen as a hunger that we cannot satisfy, except maybe with the bread of life.

At communion we break bread to symbolise the broken Christ representing our brokenness. We are at a meal where there is no ‘food’. We are hungry, we are all hungry but, like the wolf, we need to realise that the moment will pass and our hunger will always be there, the pangs will pass.

I promise that is the last time I will use a new romantic reference.