Friday, May 30, 2008

doughnuts and jesus

Have you ever had a Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut fresh off the conveyer belt at 6 in the morning? No? Go ahead and set your alarm now so you can drive to the closest Krispy Kreme—in Columbus—and try it. I'll wait.

How was it? No, I don't expect you to have actually driven to Columbus, but I do expect you to try it next time you're in a city with a Krispy Kreme bakery. You won't regret it. Let me paint the picture for you. When you walk in, your nose fills with the scent of baking dough and hot glaze. You can see through several large glass windows the machinery which makes the doughnuts: mixers, shapers, some sort of tall, rise-inducing rack, the oven or vat or whatever it is that cooks them (it's been a while for me), and the conveyor they arrive on, doughnuts freshly drenched in sweet glaze. At this point, you may think, "So what? It's a commercial baking enterprise." If you were there, you would only be thinking that until you ordered your doughnut, had it handed to you, still hot, from the conveyor, and taken your first bite.

My friends, this is what heaven tastes like. It's hot but not uncomfortably so, sweet but with a strong undertone of yeast, and literally melts in your mouth. It is not, though I may try, a taste that can really be described. And it is, much to my disappointment, almost completely unlike the taste of the same doughnut several minutes later. Once it cools, the glaze hardens, the dough firms up, and the taste of heaven dissipates like smoke on the breeze. The doughnut we buy at the store bears no relation to this newly-minted, fresh, passionate doughnut.

That's right, passionate. Because I'm not just waxing lyrical about breakfast foods in my second-trimester state, I'm talking about the Gospel, too. How often have we heard the Gospel preached and it sounds nothing like what Jesus actually said? Or it has no taste, no yeast, no passion? Or it's gone stale? And how often do we ourselves feel that way about it, ignoring the scandalous implications of Jesus' words and the drastic measures he wants us to take to change the world? Jesus offers us the Gospel—the fresh-off-the-conveyor, melt-in-your-mouth, taste of heaven doughnut—and we receive or offer the world the day-old, store-bought version.

To be fair, we've always quite liked the day-old, store-bought version—it's sweet and a little salty and satisfies what we think we want. But there's more out there—there's challenge to live better, there's powerful comfort in grief, there's unnamable joy when you search for it and get up early and wait for a glimpse of the kingdom. But the kingdom isn't really like a doughnut, friends. There is a cost to discipleship. We are charged to sacrifice our sleep and our wealth and our comfort for the sake of others and for the sake of God. It is not easy to follow in Jesus' footsteps and we all too often decide to sleep in and go to the convenience store instead. But the reward for following is passionate life and a taste of heaven.

What is your passion at Redeemer? How is your faith evident in what you do in the world? What are you sacrificing for the sake of heaven? And what have you tasted as a reward?

2 comments:

Bonnie said...

I have the distinct feeling I'm going to get this same essay mailed to me pretty soon. (c: Odd thing is that I thought the deadline was the 5th - gotta check that. I never have tried a Krispy Kreme hot off the line, though I know many who have. I've never heard the yeasty description - that sounds interesting.

Steve said...

Just FYI, there is now a Krispy Kreme in Lexington (Richmond Road, in front of the old K-Mart I believe). Not a lot closer than Columbus, but a bit shorter drive.