Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

The readings for Sunday, August 9, 2015:

First Reading: 1 Kings 19:4-8

First Reading (Semi-cont.):

2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33

Psalm: Psalm 34:1-8

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 130

Second Reading: Ephesians 4:25--5:2

Gospel: John 6:35, 41-51

Now we enter into that time of bread, where Sunday after Sunday, Christ uses that metaphor.  Many of us are hungry, physically, but we're not sure what we hunger for.  Bread makes a great metaphor, as it sustains us in our daily life, but it stands for so much more.  Think of the miracle of bread:  water, yeast, and flour, at its most basic level.  But given time and attention periodically and an oven, it's transformed into so much more.
We, too, are hungry for transformation, but like those people who followed Christ from shore to shore, hoping for a free meal, we often don't know what we hunger for.  Perhaps this explains why so many of us shop compulsively, eat compulsively, drink compulsively, gulp down anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants and painkillers of all sorts. We want to do God's work in the world, but there's so much work to do, and we're so tired before we even get started.

Our Scriptures remind us in both the Old and New Testaments that God provides. God gives us both physical food and spiritual food. But we must be receptive. God won't open our mouths and chew for us.

We are in such desperate need of spiritual renewal. We think we need sleep, but we need communion (and I use that word on all sorts of levels).  Our ancestors would have seen the temptation to skip church and sleep in for what it was: the devil trying to lead us astray.

We are in the dog days of summer, when it seems so long until we feel Fall's coolness. We may be in a bit of a spiritual funk, as well. I often find August a slow slog, spiritually. We're deep into that long, green season, but so far away from Advent. And now we hit week after week of bread Gospels.

But of course, the Gospels point the way out of my spiritual doldrums. Perhaps it is time to return to a bread baking regimen. I can watch the yeast work its magic and contemplate the work of the Holy Spirit in the world. I can share that bread with others and take a moment to catch up. I can end the day with a Psalm, a glass of wine, a prayer of thanks. In the morning, as I bathe, I can remember my baptism and pray, "Preserve me with your mighty power that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord" (found throughout the 3 volume set The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle).

Then, fortified, I can do the work of the week before returning again to the sacraments of Sunday.

No comments: