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August Prayer Bench Newsletter
Leftover Bread & Fish, Prayer, Autumn Rambles & Worship Resources
Greetings Prayer Bench friends. Welcome to our August newsletter. Here is a reflection, a prayer, and information about resources, most with samples for you to try.
REFLECTION: Pondering Leftover Bread & Fish
I spent a couple of years in Israel volunteering with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion. I loved visiting Galilee and the Church of the Multiplication, sometimes called “The Bread and Fish Church.” A modern church stands on the site, where by tradition, this story takes place. What I liked best was the 5th century mosaic tile floor depicting two fish and a basket full of bread.
I invite you to pause now and read the story. Matthew 13:13-21. Think of it as an “enacted parable.”
Like many parables, this acted-out parable uses surprise, exaggeration and abundance to give us a new way of looking at ourselves and the realm of God enfolded within earth-realm.
Abundance is 12 baskets of leftovers. All the possible symbolism aside, what would you do with leftover bread and fish if you were in a remote place? How do the disciples feel? How do you feel when a new issue arises even as you’ve worked out one dilemma?
Are you the type who would get out a recipe book and make bread pudding and fishcakes, thus furthering the transformation? Or are you tempted by “good enough” and leave it as it is and make your way back to a familiar place? Are you more likely to arrange taking the leftovers to the downtown Tabgha food bank, or save some just in case the food for tomorrow is not as plentiful?
A lot of baskets holding the leftovers are now involved. Where did they come from? What if it was a family heirloom and you handed over to hold the leftovers, not knowing if you’d get it back? Would that be you? Are you someone who can easily let go good things to open your heart to receiving something different?
It is this kind of playfulness a parable invites. When we wonder and play with parables, we use our thoughts or our words to make a poem, draw, doodle or receive a photo to contemplate. We sing a song that reflects how we want to feel or we make up a chant to deepen your experience of this story. When we play we are reaching deep into the kingdom within. Our awareness shifts. We see the abundance of God’s presence is hidden in plain view, like in bread and fish.
Perhaps you’ll time to play with the parable and see what arises for you.
Wisdom teacher Cynthia Bourgeault often reminds us that this world’s dense conditions are not a mistake but a place where the rough material of our lives can be mixed with spiritual substances and nutrients from beyond and in so doing, something essential is created.
LET US PRAY
Let Us Pray: A Digital Collection of Prayers is a comprehensive set of prayers for every Sunday from September (Ordinary/Creation time) to Christmas Day written by Jane Doull. Here us one prayer and you’ll find more samples in the Prayer Bench shop.
Today, may we be open to the unexpected,
question the normal
and sit loosely to what we think we know!
As we let go of what we think we know,
let go our attachment to the way things are,
may we make room for Hope to work wonders
in our life and our world. (An Invitation for Gathering from Volume 1)
We may not be ready for a change in seasons but it is coming. So I must also tell you about Autumn Rambles for indivdual or group use. See the Group Rambles (with (unlimited participants). Each day for two weeks you’ll receive a curated digital scrapbook page to inspire your ramble and set you off on your own autumn discoveries.
This is a collaborative program with Caroline at Kereru Publishing. We work together on two programs. She’s getting ready for Stroll for You Soul in New Zealand so if you want to join her during a southern hemisphere spring, you can learn more here. Stroll for Your Soul
NOTE: All 2023 paid Subscribers will receive this resource.
The Prayer Bench Worship Sheets saw good use this summer and with positive response. They are for year round use. Check them out: Worship Sheets. There is a sample and you can use it.