Most merciful God of all creation, I come to Your throne of grace this morning with praise and thanks for all the rich blessings you have bestowed so freely upon all your children. I worship You and offer unending thanksgiving for Your love, Your justice and Your sustaining mercy.
I ask for special mercy this day for those crushed by poverty and those oppressed by forces beyond their control. I pray that those in the shadow of starvation may see the light of your presence in the form of life-sustaining food and that the hungry everywhere might be fed until they are filled.
Open our hearts, Lord, that we may see through Your eyes. Help us to love our brothers and sisters even as You love us. And let Your love, Your mercy and Your grace flow through us as we strive to meet the need of the least of these among us. In a world so richly blessed there are none that should lack daily bread. My prayer is that You would empower us to do whatever needs to be done to see that Your gifts are shared with all our family.
Allow me Lord to be a true ambassador of reconciliation. Grant me the strength to be a real peacemaker. And may my life be a clear reflection of Your love and compassion in every situation. Amen
Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy. For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger. – Khalil Gibran in The Prophet
The author of the Letter of James in the New Testament writes that faith by itself is nothing. Without works faith is dead on arrival. In these lines from The Prophet, the poet tells us that work is love incarnate.
But he goes even further. He has the audacity to tell us that we need to have joy in our work. He even goes so far as to write that unless our efforts are motivated by love we have missed the mark so completely it would be better to do nothing.
Both writers have hit the mark. Our faith must find expression if it is to remain alive, yet everything we do can and should manifest the love from which that faith springs. Work completed joy is truly love made visible. It is love that can be tasted. And as such it is a powerful demonstration of a faithfulness that goes beyond empty words.
Make us worthy, Lord, to serve those people throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger. Give them through our hands, this day, their daily bread, and by our understanding love, give them peace and Joy. Amen
a simple prayer of Mother Teresa for the poor and hungry
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. — Victor Frankl
Heroism comes in many guises. It’s not always the bravery of a soldier giving his life for his comrades or the selfless actions of a firefighter risking her life to save a child from a burning building.
As Frankl so eloquently describes, there are heroes who simply do what they can to comfort others in their time of need. The do whatever they are able to make pain more bearable and offer whatever hope they can bring.
All of us have the freedom to be that hero. All of us can carry hope. We are not asked to give away our last piece of bread. But, as Frankl points out, we all have the freedom to choose our own way.
What will we choose today? Will we turn selfishly inward, or will we choose to care enough to be the bringers of comfort to those in need?
The satiated man and the hungry one do not see the same thing when they look upon a loaf of bread. – Rumi
Someone once told me that perception is reality. It took a little time for me to fully understand that piece of wisdom, but once I did, it has had a big influence on my relational skills.
Rumi, the well-known and much beloved Sufi poet, describes this by painting us a compelling picture.
Bread is bread, right? Maybe, but maybe not.
For most of us bread is just another commodity, another item to pick up at the store or check off a long grocery list. But to others bread is life or death, something to fantasize over, something that occupies every waking moment.
Those of us blessed with enough food are blessed to have numerous problems. Those that are hungry this morning have only one…bread.
Rumi is right. A loaf of bread is a loaf of bread, but it smells far better to some.
In Holy Communion we have Christ under the appearance of bread. In our work we find him under the appearance of flesh and blood. It is the same Christ. — Mother Teresa
This past Saturday’s blog post (entitled a good question) focused on Shane Claiborne’ s question about the dichotomy of worshiping a homeless man on Sunday and ignoring a homeless man on Monday. Shortly after posting that blog I came across this quote from Mother Teresa. Both quotes heavily influenced my Communion message on Sunday morning.
As Christians we believe that when the Communion elements of bread and wine are consecrated they become the body and blood of Christ. We call Communion a Holy Sacrament because we believe it is a divine means of grace. Christ comes to us in the form of bread and wine.
Mother Teresa tells us that as Christ comes to us in the bread and wine on Sunday, He comes to us in the guise of one of the least of these every day during the week.
Every opportunity we have to draw closer to the oppressed, the poor, the hungry, the homeless, those in prison, and those despised by society is then a true means of grace.
And that brings us back to Shane Claiborne’s question: “How can we worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore him on Monday?”
It really is a good question, isn’t it?