Come Feast With Christ

Lenten Practice: Fasting
Daily Act: Spend time in prayer with these questions for reflection: 1. How does intentional emptying make more space for God in your life? 2. How does this disruption in your normal routine draw your attention to God and others in a new way?
Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.

“OPEN ME TO RECEIVE MORE OF YOU.”

As we reach the end of our first full week of Lent, here is a poem to prepare our hearts for World Hunger Day (tomorrow). In each emptying and receiving, may you find joy.

COME FEAST WITH CHRIST
WORLD HUNGER DAY

By David Brock

They wouldn’t really get
the guilt part
of World Hunger Day,
our thin-armed Third World sisters
who reach weary fingers
to receive a piece of bread,
coconut, or cracker;
our old-before-their-time brothers
who sip the grape juice
or caramelized sugar water
as they feast with Christ
this Communion Sunday.
They just wouldn’t get
the guilt part.

If you came.
If I was there,
they’d find some yam
or tarot root and cassava greens,
free range chickens or one thin goat,
boiled rice and Coca Cola at room temperature.
They’d rustle up abundance
from a crusty loaf and a dried fish.
They’d work a miracle for the visitor.
You, the guest,
and even their thin-lipped kids
would eat well
on World Hunger Day.

If you or I were the face of Jesus
in their hut today,
someone would thank God
for God’s grace and generous gifts.
We’d sing. We’d laugh.
We’d eat to overflowing
and there’d be enough
and to spare.
We’d laugh more, sing more
than any of us has for too long
and those rich moments
would be the greater miracle.
Joy and abundance
on World Hunger Day.
A full-on feast with Jesus
in the symbols of sacrament
and the hospitality of our hungry
Sisters and brothers in Christ.

I keep forgetting the hospitality of the poor.
I simply keep forgetting the hungry:
More than 800 million of them this World Hunger day.
The thousands who’ll die today
The cold calculations that number the
names of the 7 who die each minute,
in whose drawn faces
the light of the eyes
slowly fades and blinks out.

Wars kill, AIDS kills, cancer kills
But nothing kills like hunger.
They wouldn’t get the guilt part
of World Hunger Day.
They’d just share their abundance
They’d be as generous as they could.
They’d give the gift of hospitality
And they and we would experience joy.

[BFW—www.bread.org (advocacy)
Outreach International
Oblation—World Hunger
The Feinstein Foundation Challenge to Students
Joyce Carter, Ken Schnell]

Lenten Spiritual Retreat with Presiding Evangelist David Brock.  March 13-15, 2015 Click here to register!
Lenten Spiritual Retreat with Presiding Evangelist David Brock.
March 13-15, 2015
Click here to register!

Sacred Restraint

Lenten Practice: Fasting
Daily Act: When we move toward lives of simplicity, we use less of the Earth’s precious resources as well. Today, choose to conserve in a way that will be a blessing to creation. Decrease or eliminate your use of electricity, water, or fuel for one day. Repeat this week’s prayer phrase throughout your day.
Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.

“OPEN ME TO RECEIVE MORE OF YOU.”

By Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

One of my first revelatory moments of recognizing the incarnate God came in the mundane choice to recycle. I held the plastic bottle in my hands and faced the temptation of convenience. While the trash bin was right beside me, the recycle bin was across the room and around the corner.

A phrase from my eco-theology class drifted into my consciousness, “The whole world is the body of God.” (Sallie McFague)

If the whole earth is sacred, then earth care is also prayer.
Each act of earth care is healing, co-creation, relationship.

I chose to walk to the recycle bin, each step prayerful. I held the bottle above the bin with a ceremonial slowness and released it with a full-hearted intention. It is difficult to explain the peace and purpose that can come from living in a way that recognizes and honors our inherent interconnectedness with all life. That this is biological and spiritual evokes awe in me, and abounding gratitude.

Today our act of emptying is linked to a prayerful act of earth healing. In Red, Terry Tempest Williams suggests, “We have forgotten the option of restraint.” We have become so accustomed to convenience that the option of intentionally restraining seems almost foolish. Why would I choose to sit in the dark one night when I can turn on the light? Why would I choose to walk somewhere when I can drive? It is countercultural to imagine that restraint from what is readily accessible could be a form of prayer.

And consider this: What gift could a night in the dark bring? If you unplugged for an evening, what might be yearning to emerge within you that is currently being drowned out by the constant murmur of the television? If you chose to walk instead of drive, what might you notice along the way? What new neighbor might you meet? What new insight might a few moments of fresh air bring?

Lent is a call to Christian simplicity. We enter this time to remove every distraction from fullest life in God… every distraction.

Terry Tempest Williams describes her choice to move to the desert as seeking the more of life in a deliberate emptiness. “We wanted more. We wanted less. We wanted more time, fewer distractions. We wanted more time together, time to write, to breathe, to be more conscious with our lives. We wanted to be closer to wild places where we could walk and witness the seasonal changes, even the changing constellations… In the vastness of the desert, I want to create my days as a ceremony around s l o w n e s s ….”

While many of us can’t just move to the desert, we can begin to see more clearly the link between our spiritual health and the health of the planet we call home.

How might the more we are seeking be living within the invitation of less?

REMINDER: March 1, 2015 is the registration deadline for our upcoming Lenten Retreat with Presiding Evangelist, David Brock. The theme is INTO THE WILDERNESS (March 13-15). If you are seeking a deeper exploration of the season of Lent in your life and yearn to grow closer with God, we would love to share this experience with you! Email khmclaughlin@cofchrist.org if you have any questions.

Lenten Spiritual Retreat with Presiding Evangelist David Brock.  March 13-15, 2015 Click here to register!
Lenten Spiritual Retreat with Presiding Evangelist David Brock.
March 13-15, 2015
Click here to register!

A Radical Love

Lenten Practice: Fasting
Daily Act: Engage in an act of generosity today. Buy someone a cup of coffee, send a note or gift to someone you think could use it, or make time in your day to spend with someone who could use your gift of time and presence. Dwell in the experience of self-emptying for the sake of another.
Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.

“OPEN ME TO RECEIVE MORE OF YOU.”

By Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

The closer I grow to Christ
The more I feel
A radical love
On fire within me
Aching for release

How do I explain?
It is wholeness
It is salvation
It is justice

It is fulfillment
And emptying

What might happen
If I let this radical love
Loose on the world?

Where might it lead?
What might it ask of me?
How might it change me?

The more I get to know
The One I claim to follow
The more I see how
My wholeness is linked
With the well-being of all
The more I see how
The deepest dream within me
Is Shalom

Maybe this is what Lent is for
Attention to this radical love
Which is
Christ alive deep within you
With a heart on fire for
Something new

I am beginning to understand
In that space beyond words
What it means
That I must lose my life
To find it

REMINDER: March 1, 2015 is the registration deadline for our upcoming Lenten Retreat with Presiding Evangelist, David Brock. The theme is INTO THE WILDERNESS (March 13-15). If you are seeking a deeper exploration of the season of Lent in your life and yearn to grow closer with God, we would love to share this experience with you! Email khmclaughlin@cofchrist.org if you have any questions.

Lenten Spiritual Retreat with Presiding Evangelist David Brock.  March 13-15, 2015 Click here to register!
Lenten Spiritual Retreat with Presiding Evangelist David Brock.
March 13-15, 2015
Click here to register!