Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shifting Gears

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 -- Week of 4 Lent
Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells, 1711

Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 955)
Psalms 97, 99, [100] (morning)     //         94, [95](evening)
Genesis 49:29 - 50:14      
1 Corinthians 11:17-34      
Mark 8:1-10  

[Go to http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html for an online version of the Daily Office including today's scripture readings.]

There is a problem.  The crowd is hungry.  They have been with Jesus and the disciples "for three days and have nothing to eat."  Some have a great distance to travel home.  It is not safe to dismiss them.  The disciples look at the situation and they are helpless.  They do the metrics -- too many people; not enough food.  The disciples are stuck.  They don't have the resources.  They can't figure out a solution.  If someone could come up with a workable plan, they would set their minds to it.  They would work hard to solve the problem.  But they don't even have a plan.  They need to make a plan.  They need to do something.  This is going to be awful unless they fix it.

Jesus does something else.  He too runs the metrics.  "How many loaves do you have?"  "Seven."  He gives thanks.

The people sit.  Jesus begins the distribution.  There are a few fish.  Jesus blesses these as well, offering thanks.  The fish are distributed.

"They ate and were filled."  There was abundance.

My mind goes to something from the late Gerald May:
There is a vast, spacious difference between consecrated hope and willful expectation.  I suggest you become familiar with the feeling you have inside when you make a resolution or strive to cling to something.  You can call the feeling up inside you right now: the tight sense of grasping, the 'I have to' attitude that borders on guilt or desperation, the tense and forceful atmosphere of need.  Get to know the feeling well, so that whenever you feel it you can stop what you're doing, take a breath, relax, yield a little, and let your real self turn to the real God.  Substitute prayer for resolution, hope for expectation, fidelity for compulsion.  Seek to encourage yourself instead of manipulating yourself.  Cultivate your receptivity to the little interior glances instead of grasping for them.  Live, love, and yearn with unbearable passion, but don't try to make it happen and don't try to hold on when it does happen.  (Gerald G. May, M.D., The Awakened Heart, Harper, San Francisco, 1991, p. 138)

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

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


At 11:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having just listened (as long as I could) to a program on NPR about the problems plaguing Pakistan, Afghanistan and the U.S. presence, including drone strikes, I'm familiar with the feeling of needing to "do something." Now, I'll take a breath and reflect on your reflection, Lowell.

At 8:19 AM, Blogger Lowell said...

Some problems seems so massive. How can we offer some expression of peace and reconciliation, while accepting our own limitations. I think it is important to write our Senators and Congressmen about these things. They really do pay attention to constituent letters. It is also important to hold those places like Pakistan and Afghanistan in our prayers. Send benevolence and coherent love to them. Ask God to use your good intention for the healing of the world. Sometimes after such a prayer, we have a chance to reconcile something within our own immediate environment.



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