Daily Office Readings for Thursday of Proper 16: Year 1
Take, bless, divide and share.
We have a Eucharistic meal taking place in two of our readings for today. I will start with our Gospel according to Mark. And while this Gospel account took place first chronologically, we read our Acts account first as we pray through the Daily Office. But the point to the lesson remains; Both Paul and our Lord Jesus (albeit at different times), took bread, blessed the bread, divided it up and handed it out to those needing the healing food of Communion.
Our Lord Jesus instituted the gathering at a meal as a Christian sign of love and hospitality. I was gathered among friends last night where I was asked to say the blessing. I was asked again at the close of our gathering. I am always honored to do it. Our Lord Jesus was intentional about using food as a way to remember his presence among us for all time.
In Acts, there were about two hundred fifty persons on the ship sailing for Italy. This ship could be considered to be a floating Church of two hundred fifty souls. Before the ship ran aground and begin to crumble, Paul took bread, gave thanks to God for it, and shared the meal. This is what we do in our Church almost every Sunday in remembrance of our Lord Jesus.
The ship was destroyed. Some could go on by their own ability to swim. Some had to stay clutched to pieces of the church-ship in order to come to safety. Let this be a lesson to all of us. Some of us have been fully well-informed by the Church and can go on in life being led by the Holy Spirit. Many of us must hold on to parts of the Church in order to arrive safely before our Lord Jesus. Paul was not a sailor but he knew and loved and trusted in the Lord. As it turns out, Paul lost no one to death even though it was the plan of the soldiers to kill the prisoners rather than to let them escape. Where is the love in that response?
When you are among friends, perhaps some who have not as yet been recognized as such, and refreshments or a meal is served, be the good spiritual host and give thanks to God for it. This does not mean to be offensive to those who do not yet understand the meaning of Thanksgiving to God. It simply means remembering and being thankful to God for faith, food and fellowship.
Let us live to love, serve and teach, rather than just live to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying through the saints and to us, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John