A few weeks ago, many of us gathered to celebrate World Communion Sunday, in large cathedrals and small country congregations, in storefront missions and suburban churches, in ornate Gothic chapels and outdoors under tents. We were offered a piece of bread—cornbread, matzo, pita, injera, challah, Wonder Bread—and a sip of juice or wine. In the small ordinary actions of eating and drinking, we were invited “to taste and see that the Lord is good” or, in the words of the old hymn, “I see thee face to face; here would I touch and handle things unseen” (UMH, no. 623).
A sacrament is a visible sign of an invisible grace. It helps us see that which lies beyond seeing: the extent of God’s love. When we eat the bread and drink the cup, those seemingly insignificant tastes open us to the eternal goodness of God.
But what does it mean to taste and see this way? Surely there is more to it than the flavor of yeast and grape on one’s tongue. To taste and see that God is good implies a relationship with God, an experience of God’s goodness, taking that in and being nourished by it. From the beginning of time, God has looked on creation and seen that it was good. This tasting and seeing invites us to respond in kind: to look on God and see God’s goodness.
We may take that goodness for granted when the sun is shining and all is well or perhaps even attribute our good fortune to our own efforts. But when we experience the body’s ability to heal, love’s power to comfort, a child’s smile, or an elder’s blessing, then we are fed by the goodness of God; we taste and truly see.
Feed me, O God, with your love. Fill my life with praise for you. Help me to see your goodness. Amen.
Sometimes we can look back and see why challenging things happened to us, but this is not always the case. Job never fully understood his story but finally submitted his life to God in humility. In Job’s case, God restored with abundance. The psalmist also rejoices that although the righteous may suffer, God brings ultimate restoration. The reading from Hebrews continues celebrating Christ’s role as the compassionate high priest. Unlike human high priests, who serve only for a time, Christ remains our priest forever. A man without sight in Jericho knows of Jesus compassion and cries out for it, despite attempts to silence him. He asks Jesus for mercy, physical healing in his case, and Jesus granted his request because the man has displayed great faith.
• Read Job 42:1-6, 10-17. What are your happy and unhappy endings? How do you acknowledge both?
• Read Psalm 34:1-8, 19-22. When has an obstruction or impediment influenced your relationship with God?
• Read Hebrews 7:23-28. What distinction do you draw between sacrifice and offering? Which do you prefer?
• Read Mark 10:46-52. When have you been unable to see the blessing right in front of your eyes?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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