Saturday, February 22, 2014

And a great big hawk was soaring overhead

So Jesus told the crowd to settle themselves on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves into his hands, and with a prayer of thanksgiving broke them, and gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people; and this they did. They had a few small fish as well, and after blessing them, Jesus told the disciples to give these also to the people. They ate and they were satisfied. Mark 8:6-9

Those disciples pretty much figured that they had Jesus stumped. “Where could anyone find the food to feed this crowd here in this deserted spot?”

And sometimes I feel like those disciples as I bring my requests to him. This morning I was praying for a family member who is battling cancer and if her blood count rises enough, they will begin another eight-week round of horrific chemo and then look around for a bone marrow donor. And somehow the specialist is optimistic, but it’s sort of hard to not look at Him and ask, “What are you going to do about this, huh?”

But Jesus told the hungry watchers and waiters to settle themselves on the ground. And then He gave thanks. 

And I am part of this listening prayer group learning how to listen for God’s voice, and I was supposed to meditate for twenty minutes this morning in preparation for us gathering to pray for God at work in our city, and I kind of cheated because instead of quietly sitting here with my hands held open, I walked “por el parque,” not to be confused with “para el parque” like I tried to explain to my Spanish II students this week. And I was supposed to be listening for a word from Him. 

And I did. Over and over.

For what we are about to receive, we give You thanks.

And the thing about wandering around a park with forty-two years of memories is that I can’t look anywhere and not think of His hand at work. Creosote plants over a hundred years old. Drooping staghorn cactus. The hill that I used to stand on and watch Nicole win cross-country meets. The very spot where the little girls and I used to stand and throw old dried bread ends to the ducks had a stark white crane standing there, motionless, watching. The warm swimming pool where I used to take my dad to swim. The theatre for Shakespeare under the stars. Shakespeare never ceases to remind me that there is something special and holy about life. The rose garden where Sergio and Janelle were married. Soccer fields where I have watched countless games under the bright blue sky under the ever-so-tall palm trees. The little prayer loop that I walked year after year though the neighborhood. I wonder whatever happened to that teen mom that I prayed for every day as I walked past Janice Joplin’s brother’s house with the green wall.

For what we are about to receive, we give You thanks.

And after they gathered up seven baskets of pieces leftover from feeding four thousand people to satisfaction, Jesus boarded the boat at once with his disciples and went on to the district of Dalmanutha. Now the Pharisees came out and began an argument with him, wanting a sign from Heaven.

And Jesus sighed once again. Deeply. But I pretty much don’t think it was the sigh of merciful identity with the brokenhearted from yesterday, but rather a sigh of weary disgust against hardhearted blindness.

For what we are about to receive, we give You thanks.

And so I tell you, ask and it will be given you, search and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. The one who asks will always receive; the one who is searching will always find, and the door is opened to the man who knocks.

Some of you are fathers, and if your son asks you for some fish, would you give him a snake instead, or if he asks you for an egg, would you make him a present of a scorpion? So, if you, for all your evil, know how to give good things to your children, how much more likely is it that your Heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!

For what we are about to receive, we give You thanks.