Saturday, July 29, 2006

bread and balm

I'm sure those of us who name ourselves as Christians and even those who have some knowledge of the faith could rattle off the "Our Father" without even thinking about it. What I was thinking about, and read a column about yesterday, was the phrase "give us this day our daily bread". The person writing the article (a priest) pointed out that our daily bread is more than food. If we believe ourselves to be people created in the image of God, we know that we have more than a body to nourish. We have a soul and a spirit. Friendships with people and with God feed them, a clear purpose in life, a grateful heart stemming from these seems lately that my bread basket has been brimming with these things in the face of a great hunger to have them. And the days that find me in the greatest need bring some of the greatest reminders that I do.

Another item probably less familiar to us believers, probably more so to the silver generation, is a hymn and phrase, "There is a balm in Gilead". When I first heard/sang that, I thought I needed cheat notes to explain what the heck a balm in Gilead is-some sort of weird Arabian weather pattern? A balm, I learned, was a plant grown in ancient Israel for it's aromatic and healing properties. Gilead was a very fertile valley. So a "balm in Gilead" refers to something healing to the body and mind. In the hymn it refers to Jesus Christ. But I was thinking that even people can be our "balm in Gilead" when our souls are lonely and tried, and no one seems to really understand what we're going through. Yesterday I was also struggling with my emotions, feeling so tired and spent, unable to feed myself with good thoughts and memories. Nothing seemed to work. So my bread and balm came in the form of a letter I received from a prisoner I've been writing to. His words were so healing to my soul, saying the very things I needed to hear and most likely would not have heard from anyone else except another person in the prison system.

Even from the most unlikely corners of society come the blessings of balm and bread if we are hungry enough.


Post a Comment

<< Home