Thursday, January 1, 2009

Chepati of Life

My scripture reading has been straightforward for the past 8 or so years. While deeper Christians choose to do fancy topical Bible studies or use a Bible study manual, I merely open the Bible at Genesis and proceed to read straight through till Revelation. When I hit the end of the O.T., I flip my old Bible over and begin again. Consequently I've read completely my Bible through many times, which may seem boring to some people, but I like to read what's in the Word for myself.

Sometimes I do vary off my straightforward path to chase little rabbit trails. For four days now I've been reading John chapter 6 during my quiet times. I read it once, think about, then read it again. Each day I read the chapter a different aspect to Jesus' words pop out at me, and sometimes the same words hit different chords in me based on my mood.
Hmm. A curious effect.

I've been so eagerly looking forward to my study times, wondering what the next re-reading will bring, that finally I decided to memorize the verses that haunt my thoughts the most, verses 26-40. Now that I'm too afraid to leave my apartment alone at night, I have plenty of leisure time for memorization.

In John 6, Jesus repeatedly asserts that He is the bread of life. This is a simple analogy to me, but His discussion on the topic seemed too much for some of His disciples and some deserted Him. Was it the content that was too hard for them to accept, or did they truly not understand His message?

I've heard tales of the Bible being translated into tribal languages with the word "bread" changed to whatever the staple food of that tribe is. Like the sweet potato of Papua New Guinea. Roti [bread] is common in Bangladesh, but their staple food is bhat [rice]. Jesus is the rice of life.

For the past month my staple food has been chepati, a round, flat food akin to a tortilla. Claiming Jesus is the chepati of life is proclaiming Him to be all I need to be filled.

Knowing that Jesus is the most satisfying, the most fulfilling should be comforting, as it surely is for me. So why did it scare off the disciples? After my re-readings, it hits me that often it's the simplest ideas that confound people.

In the western world the simplest answer isn't the right answer. To be happy, you need as many entertainment possessions as possible: flat screen TVs, entertainment systems, Blackberries, laptops, these are the essentials. Maybe that's why I'm not content to live in America. Probably I'm the most happy after I hop out of a hot shower and can smell the creamy scent of coconut conditioner in my hair. Or when I hear a workman in my building singing a melancholy opera tune.

Simple things for simple minds, you may say. But I'll readily admit, it's the simple scripture verses, like "Jesus is the bread of life," that intrigue me the most.

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