On milk and meat

February 14th, 2009

Even though both could be either, we know milk as a liquid and meat as a solid. Solids in milk we intend to drink are usually a problem, but liquids in meat are fine: a nice, juicy steak. Both are consumed, and make gas, and result in physical growth, stoking our engine so we can do that which is at hand. [New Testament texts that come to mind are I Cor. 3:2 and Hebrews 5:12 – Editor]

Children – from just-born infants to very old adults – drink milk with a certain childish greed and glee that is delightful to observe. I like it when an adult friend orders a glass of milk to wash down a Mexican omelet that has green chili and extra hot sauce added. And for me, there really hasn’t been anything like observing our daughters nurse on Shan’s breast. This was a Wow event, and lovely. There is contentment on a child’s face while drinking milk; it is contagious for a time.

How milk works in our system is probably complex. I know the process of getting it is, having baled hay, combined grain, spread manure and milked cows. (They must be milked two times a day, regardless of conditions, the opinion of the dairy man or how he might feel at any given time.) Kittens sure like a squirt of warm milk, fresh from the teat! But milk seems simple to consume and goes right to work in filling a belly, cooling hot tea and neutralizing stomach acid. It’s nice, simple, clear and concise.

There are all sorts of meats, the flesh of various critters that man prepares and eats. Growing up in a hunting and fishing family means that I’ve killed, caught, cleaned, cooked and eaten a number of species’ flesh. Anyone who eats meat should at least once be involved in the killing of what they eat, just to know. Meat provides protein and many types of nutrients to a human body. While milk alone will provide all the nourishment an infant requires to grow until they can add bread and meat to their diet, we’ve heard that man cannot live on bread alone. (I take that to mean food, and eating: nourishment for the physical body.)

We know that a body can stay alive and fully function by eating food, and that one’s diet, when the right food is available, makes a body flourish between meals. We even know that medical science can keep a comatose person who cannot eat physically alive by pumping fluids that provide nutrients into the patient’s blood.

Physical life is and will continue, as long as sex remains popular, and milk and meat and bread are available for feeding. Based on history, sex will remain popular regardless of feeding, of course. There are delights and terrors in being physically living, but there is more. The intellectual, emotional and spiritual aspects of life are of interest to various degrees based on the capacity, perception, desire, curiosity and responsiveness of individual physical people, and result in art, philosophy, religion, war, love, hatred and so on, based on the above list and other matters.

For those called by Jesus – those who exercise faith, their ears to hear – and listen, come to understand that while their physical bodies can live on bread alone, they are not living without the Word of God. At first, and continuing throughout, I suspect, called ones who obey, and are born again, desire simply milk, drinking choking, sputtering and drinking more as they thirst for Life. The milk of the Word is Christ died for our sins. Take a sip. Savor Truth. And many stay right there, suckling on the breast of the Bride of Christ – His Church – in contentment but without abundance. For me, this is a mystery.

Others press on, and run the race with endurance, seeking as they are sought. The race makes them thirst, of course, and milk – replaced by Living Water? – quenches their thirst, true to its promise. But in acting on His call to run, to respond, to do His will, the follower also hungers and needs meat, the nutrients that bring abundance and result in prayers of thanksgiving as they seek perfection, oneness with God. The meat of the Word is Christ died for our sins. Chew on that. Be.

The author can be reached at daleflies@gmail.com

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