It’s likely that most preachers today will focus on the powerful gospel reading continuing these five-Sundays-break from the Mark cycle for this year to feast on John chapter 6 with its abundance of teaching on the Eucharist.
I could easily take the same focus, but my choice is between the power of the gospel of John, and one of my favourite Old Testament chapters from the First Book of Kings, chapter 19.
It’s a tough choice for me, but because many will go with the gospel I’ll give a broader context by going with Elijah.
To summarise the chapter in a couple of sentences:
The prophet Elijah is under pressure and persecution and flees for his life to the desert where, finding a bit of shade, he prays God I’ve had enough, take my life, and then he falls asleep.
An angel turns up and encourages him to eat and drink, then strengthened Elijah gets up and journeys to “God’s mountain” where he enters a cave.
Then sensing that God was trying to get through to him Elijah moves to stand at the entrance of the cave.
I love this bit:
“Go and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for at that moment the Lord was passing by. A mighty wind split the mountains and shattered the rocks before the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind came an earthquake. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake came fire. But the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a light sound of silence. And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then a voice came to him saying, what are you doing here Elijah?”
The Revised New Jerusalem Bible (RNJB), the scripture translation chosen by the Aotearoa New Zealand bishops for the new Mass Lectionary, gives this section the title: Encounter with the Lord.
But remember where the chapter began: Elijah praying: Lord, “I have had enough. Take my life,” then within a few hours, not in the noisy cosmic events but in the light sound of silence, Elijah is transformed for eternity and we, 3000 years later, are inspired by his experience of the power and generosity of God working in his human suffering.
This is where the power of the Eucharist really makes sense: food for the journey from weariness and suffering to an abundance of life.
Jesus truly is the bread of life.
A FFF update
- Today’s email, the first for some weeks, is sent as an update to everyone on the FFF mailing list. In recent weeks the updates to the FFF have been sent only to those who have visited the “Sign Up Page” and checked to receive “regular blog posts.” If you wish to receive updates whenever there is a new post on the website, take a moment to sign up at this link.
- Try out the Prayer Request page at this link. Here you can (anonymously or with initials) leave your prayer request. When you see the prayer request of others you can tap “I prayed for this” and the one who made the request will receive an email letting them know that someone is praying for their intention. Prayer Request Page at this link.
- While there have been a few desert weeks with not a lot happening on the FFF website, there has been a lot happening behind the scenes as FFF moves to a new phase of reaching out to those who seek food for their maturing faith. I’ll send another email to all on the mailing list with news of these developments.
T’hank you all for your continued support and prayer.