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Eating and Drinking

30August2011

I took a leap.  It wasn’t a risky leap in many ways—but there was certainly faith involved.  I heard the call and responded.  I headed back to school.  To learn has always been one of my thirsts.  But it has never been learning for the sake of learning.  I want to learn so that I can grow and be better at what God calls me to do—which is a whole lot of things.  So, with faith, I stepped back into school, to learn about semiotics.

Likely, you, as I was, are wondering what semiotics means.  It is the study of signs and meaning and the art of seeing the story and sharing the story.  Issachar, one of the tribes of Israel, is the patron saint of Semioticians (1 Chronicles 12:32, “Those who had understanding of the times…”) In seminary I learned to wield a scalpel.  With this scalpel, I learned to dissect the scriptures, to get behind the words, into the anatomy of a lesson or verse or even word to try to better understand it, apply it, and grow as followers of Jesus because of it.  In many ways, this is the task of preaching.  A semiotic approach of scripture is vastly different.  It is about taking note of the story and placing it within the context of The Story.  As Len Sweet states it, it is the difference between learning about birds by studying under a biologist vs. an ecologist.  One dissects.  One stands under and witnesses.  Both are faithful.

So, as I study, I will share some of the things that come forth with you all.  Feel free to challenge—I’d imagine for us preacher types who learned the biologists’ method of scriptural study—we will all feel pushed to some extent.  So….here is something to think about.

In Genesis 2 (the earlier of the two creation accounts) do you know what the first thing that God said to Adam was?  Vs 16 “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden.”  For too long we have handcuffed ourselves into thinking that the primary purpose of God is to limit—don’t eat that fruit.  But God says eat!  The very first thing He says is eat.

Now, flip to the back.  Revelation 22:17.  Come!  Jesus says come—to those who hear, come. To those who are thirsty, Come!  …Surely, I am coming!  The very first thing that the Lord said is “Eat.”  The Last thing the Lord says is “Drink.”  Eating and Drinking at the banquette table is what God is about, has been about, and will be about forevermore.  This is heaven.  The first sign of Jesus in John is about furthering the celebration at a wedding feast.   He is the bread of life, the abundant giver of wheat and fish, and vine that grows us into grapes.  This is Jesus—the host and the meal.  The one who sets a table before our enemies so that we might dine in His presence—at the Lord’s Table and in His kingdom forever.  Trust the story—this is the mantra of semiotics.  Now, its time to go get some lunch…

SMN

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