Path of Hunger

The body has basic needs.  Food is one of them.  There are signs that let us know when we are hungry, from mild pangs to gnawing pain.  Lack of food can lead to shaking, weakness, and fainting.  If not addressed, it will lead to death.

God knows our needs.  He knows how to meet them, too.  Jesus was aware of this.  When Satan tempted Jesus to turn stones to bread, Satan was trying to use hunger to break Jesus’ devotion to God.  But our Lord could not be shaken and responded by quoting a rather obscure Old Testament scripture.  The passage would probably still be obscure today if Jesus’ response had not been recorded in the Gospels.  “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

That verse from Deuteronomy was talking about God providing manna to the children of Israel.  The Israelites had never asked for manna.  They did not even know what it was.  In fact, the word “manna” sounds like Hebrew for the question, “What is it?”  Nevertheless, God chose to send manna, and manna was sufficient to sustain the Israelites in the wilderness.  When Jesus quoted the passage, He was confessing that, just as God knew and met the needs of the Israelites, God knew His needs and would provide for Him.

The 15th century Latin hymn O Love, How Deep traces the life of Christ, including the hardships that He suffered for us.  Ponder these words from the second stanza.

For us baptized, for us he bore
his holy fast and hungered sore,
for us temptation sharp he knew;
for us the tempter overthrew.

What is our hunger on our pilgrim journey, and how will it be met? Do we think that we can meet our own needs, or do we yearn for God’s provision? Christ fasted in preparation to give us hope and salvation. What will we do in preparation to receive it?

Follow the Path!

[Use with Challenge of Hunger, day 41 of A Labyrinth Pilgrimage]

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A Joyous Journey

Sometimes we can learn about others just by watching the people around us.  For example, have you ever seen someone who looked happy?  Maybe it was their smile or the bounce in their step.  Whatever it was, you could really sense that they were happy.

Now let’s take it another step.  Have you ever watched other people’s reactions when they encountered that happy person?  Happiness is remarkably contageous.  Smiles are met with more smiles.  Body language changes.  Pleasant greetings are shared, and sometimes there is an exchange about the reason for the happiness.

We have a reason for our pilgrim journey.  It is the best reason to be happy that the world has ever known.  Jesus came.  He faced the cross and conquered death.  As we walk the path, is there any chance that other people can see our joy?  Does it show on our faces?  Does it shape our actions?  Does it determine the words we choose?  It should!

Ask Ye What Great Thing I Know was written by Johann C. Schwedler and translated by Benjamin H. Kennedy.  In his opening line, Schwedler invites the listener to ask about the reason for his joy.  Carry these words in your heart today.  Show them in your smile.  Live them in your life.

Ask ye what great thing I know,
that delights and stirs me so?
What the high reward I win?
Whose the name I glory in?
Jesus Christ, the crucified.

Continue your journey today so that your life says, “Ask me about my joy.”  When people ask, don’t hesitate to share the same good news of Jesus Christ that Schwedler proclaimed.

Follow the Path!

[Use with Peace in Promise, day 40 of A Labyrinth Pilgrimage]

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