What Bread Do You Eat?
by Lisa Traylor
Let us give thanks to the Lord for his mercy, the wonders he does for his children.
For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
Paraphrase of Psalm 107:8-9
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’ ”Luke 4:3-4
An old Cherokee chief took his grandchildren into the forest and sat them down and said to them, “A fight is going on inside me. This is a terrible fight and it is a fight between two wolves. One wolf is the wolf of fear, anger, arrogance, and greed. The other wolf is the wolf of courage, kindness, humility, and love.” The children were very quiet and listening to their grandfather with both their ears as he then said to them, “This same fight between the two wolves that is going on inside of me is also going on inside of you, and inside of every person.”
They thought about it for a minute, and then one child asked the chief, “Grandfather, which wolf will win the fight?”
He said quietly, “The one you feed.
Old Cherokee lengend, passed along to me by Fr. Eirik. Full entry can be found here.
O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because in our weakness we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect for the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany.
All these little bits of scripture and story have accumulated into a heap that I’ve been sifting through this morning.
….I am reminded of the conversation we had in Sunday School last week around what it meant for Jesus to say “I am the Bread of Life.” And yet the one who came to give us the water that satisfies forever and the bread that gives life eternal would not make bread for himself in the face of his own hunger, but relied on God the Father for that provision.
…..The Cherokee chief story reminds me of Lewis’ old & new man analogy. We have a choice: we can feed that which is good and of God or we can feed our fleshly desires. There is no middle ground; the choice to feed ourselves results in being devoured by the Old Man or the wolf of greed. A decision not to make a decision is a decision to that inhibits us from becoming more like Christ, from feeding on that which is good. There is no neutral ground here.
….I may be able to “decide not to make a decision” on my own, but I cannot choose the good of God without his grace–I am just too weak. I am coming into an awareness that I can “do nothing good without You.” My own efforts are not inherently good, nor are they neutral. Unless they are wrapped in the grace of God, they are harmful in some way to someone, most likely myself.
Lord God, thank you for your great and glorious grace, which wraps up all of my deeds, so that whether my motives are mixed, good or indifferent, you can use my efforts to further the work of your kingdom. Help me to remember that you have the bread that fills me with good things and the water that satisfies. Help me to give thanks for every good thing I encounter, because it comes from you. Amen.
July 31, 2017
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March 09, 2016