Friday, August 03, 2012

One Does not Simply

Morning Prayer - Psalm 78 and a Prayer of St. Augustine

Psalm 78

  • 23 God gave orders to the skies above,
  • opened heaven’s doors,
  • 24 and rained manna on them so they could eat.
  • He gave them the very grain of heaven!
  • 25 Each person ate the bread of the powerful ones;
  • God sent provisions to satisfy them.
  • 26 God set the east wind moving across the skies
  • and drove the south wind by his strength.
  • 27 He rained meat on them as if it were dust in the air;
  • he rained as many birds as the sand on the seashore!
  • 28 God brought the birds down in the center of their camp,
  • all around their dwellings.
  • 29 So they ate and were completely satisfied;
  • God gave them exactly what they had craved.
  • 30 But they didn’t stop craving—
  • even with the food still in their mouths!

     Lord Jesus, Let Me Know Myself (Domine Iesu, Noverim me)
Lord Jesus, let me know myself and know Thee,
And desire nothing save only Thee.
Let me hate myself and love Thee.
Let me do everything for the sake of Thee.
Let me humble myself and exalt Thee.
Let me think of nothing except Thee.
Let me die to myself and live in Thee.
Let me accept whatever happens as from Thee.
Let me banish self and follow Thee,
And ever desire to follow Thee.
Let me fly from myself and take refuge in Thee,
That I may deserve to be defended by Thee.
Let me fear for myself, let me fear Thee,
And let me be among those who are chosen by Thee.
Let me distrust myself and put my trust in Thee.
Let me be willing to obey for the sake of Thee.
Let me cling to nothing save only to Thee,
And let me be poor because of Thee.
Look upon me, that I may love Thee.
Call me that I may see Thee,
And for ever enjoy Thee. Amen.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Text for the week

Bread of life  -- John 6:26-40, Common English Bible

 26 Jesus replied, “ I assure you that you are looking for me not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate all the food you wanted. 27 Don’t work for the food that doesn’t last but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Human One will give you. God the Father has confirmed him as his agent to give life. ” 

 28 They asked, “ What must we do in order to accomplish what God requires? ” 29 Jesus replied, “ This is what God requires, that you believe in him whom God sent. ” 30 They asked, “ What miraculous sign will you do, that we can see and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, just as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”

 32 Jesus told them, “ I assure you, it wasn’t Moses who gave the bread from heaven to you, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 The bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. ” 

 34 They said, “ Sir, give us this bread all the time! ” 35 Jesus replied, “ I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But I told you that you have seen me and still don’t believe. 37 Everyone whom the Father gives to me will come to me, and I won’t send away anyone who comes to me. 38 I have come down from heaven not to do my will, but the will of him who sent me. 39 This is the will of the one who sent me, that I won’t lose anything he has given me, but I will raise it up at the last day. 40 This is my Father’s will: that all who see the Son and believe in him will have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. ”

I have been thinking about this text for a couple of weeks now, seeing as it is a continuation of what I preached on last week.  I probably will preach about Jesus being the "Bread of Heaven" but that's not what is capturing my imagination today.

I struggle and wrestle with something a lot of people think is really simple - how much aid do I give a family in need?  I know of some people who would say "none" and then some who say "all."  My tendency is probably to give way more than most. I don't say this to show myself up in a good light or to flatter myself - my need to give probably arises more from my need to be liked and wanted than real agape love.

I have given away too much this year to one particular family.  It got to the point that I believe that I was enabling them to live in their lifestyle without having to take responsibility for their own actions.  I know that I have done this several times in the past and probably will do it again in the future.  I've thought about the Traveller on the road to Jericho who was attacked by thieves (maybe they were zealots, who knows?) and the Good Samaritain who stopped and gave aid.  However, what if the Traveller when healed just went back out and jumped in the ditch again?  What if the Traveller got so used to being rescued that's all that the Traveller knew?

This story this week has helped me.  Jesus fed the 5000.  He retreated across the water, the people chased him.  When they all convened on the other side, he rebuked them and did NOT feed them a second time.  Instead he told them to look for the food that endures for eternal life.  This story has been balm on my soreness. Thanks be to God!

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.

       A Prayer of St. Augustine