Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Take, Bless, Break, Give

Wednesday, June 22, 2011 -- Week of Proper 7, Year One
Alban, First Martyr of Britain, c. 304
To read about our daily commemorations, go to the Holy Women, Holy Men blog

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 972)
Psalms 101, 109:1-4(5-19)20-30 (morning)      119:121-144 (evening)
1 Samuel 7:2-17
Acts 6:1-15
Luke 22:14-23

Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me."  (Lk. 22:19)

Take.  Bless.  Break.  Give.  The four-fold action of the Eucharist is something that has become profoundly important to me.  It is a pattern for life. 

Take.
  The 18th century spiritual director Jean Pierre de Caussade urged his listeners to give themselves to the present moment with a radical acceptance.  Trust that God is always doing the best that God can do within the limitations of creation and our own sin.  Accept the present moment, he said, as the sacrament of God's presence.  If we are to know God and serve God, it can only be here and now within the circumstances of the present moment.  So let go of the struggle of resentment and judging, and accept what is as the context for our experience of God in our lives.  Within this moment, in these circumstances, God presents us our communion with the divine. 

Abandon yourself to the present moment, Caussade says, and simply intend to do one thing -- to do God's will.  And what is God's will?  He says it can be one of three things:  Either to do some present duty, or to enjoy some present joy, or, in the dark mystery of God, occasionally it is God's will for us to suffer something for the sake of God in the spirit of Christ's cross.  When we are doing God's will in the present moment, we are doing our part -- we are doing everything we can to bring near the Reign of God. 

It all starts with Acceptance.  "Take."  Accept this moment as the crucible of the divine presence and will.

Bless
.  In Hebrew tradition to bless something is to give thanks for it.  At a meal someone will "give the blessing."  They will make a prayer of thanksgiving over the food.  Whenever anything is received with thanksgiving, it is blessed; it is consecrated.  Thanksgiving is the characteristic Christian stance before the world.  We say in our Eucharistic Prayer, "It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks..." (BCP, p. 361)  To accept this moment and to bless it in a spirit of thanksgiving to God is to consecrate the moment, to make it holy.  Every moment can be holy.

Break
.  The word "sacrifice" literally means "to make holy" -- from sacra ("sacred rites") and facere ("to do, to perform, to make").  The bread must be broken to be shared.  Offering precedes giving.  Jesus shows us the path of death and resurrection.  For me, the breaking is always a form of willingness.  I must be willing to surrender my own self-centeredness in order to enter into something greater.  That sacrifice seems always to be a breaking open into an encounter with the divine, with holiness.

Give
.  All of life is gift.  We have been given all that we are and all that we have.  How can we give ourselves, and continue the generative process?

 
Each moment of this day will contain a Eucharistic opportunity for us to take, bless, break and give.  What is this moment about right now?

Lowell

__________________

Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Click the following link:
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Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at missionstclare.com -- Click for online Daily Office
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html --  Click for Divine Hours

Discussion Blog:  To comment on today's reflection or readings, go to http://lowellsblog.blogspot.com, or click here for Lowell's blog find today's reading, click "comment" at the bottom of the reading, and post your thoughts.

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas

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