Today an attender shared his frustration with the Lords Prayer.
Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
Why, he said, would the word bread appear in a prayer? Such a mundane thing to ask for! Unless the bread is specially leavened.
The word for bread, in this passage, is epiousios (ἐπιούσιος) and it is an hapax legomenon (a word that only occurs only once within a context) found only in the Lord's Prayer.
The Greek word was translated to mean bread, but its original meaning could also be interpreted as "spiritual nourishment,", "the revelation of Jesus," or in Catholic teachings the "supersubstantial bread or eucharist."
When read with this context in mind, we can recite the Lord's Prayer and ask for our daily bread in a whole new light. As Quakers we sit in quiet waiting for word of God. Our epiousios.
It's the first Sunday in April. As I sit in quiet contemplation a swirl of flurries whisks its way past the large bay window in the meeting house. My mind says "this shouldn't be." And what is, is.
On Saturday it was cold too. A dusting of snow blanketing the dreary brown brightening it up a bit, but my motivation was low to go out. As I at my breakfast I spotted a post from a friend quoting Thich Nhat Hahn "twenty-four brand new hours are before me, I vow to live fully in each moment."
Ok! I resolved to make this day count, but where to begin?
I decided a nice slow walk of the property would be a good start. I noticed branches down, broken tree limbs, and leaves everywhere. I could work on any one of these but I see where vines have twisted themselves around two oaks that I planted a few years ago.
One oak as been killed by the vine. I'm sad about that.
The other one has managed to survive even though the vine has found it way around the slender truck of the tree and into the branches.
As I ponder this situation and wonder why I allowed these vines to grow.
If I am to be completely honest, I'd have to admit that I've let myself become more cynical and hopeless in the last year. I've let some things go. I've allowed the political situation to seep into my psyche. It seems like as a nation we are moving backward not forward.
I grab by machete. Sharpen the blade and begin hacking. It feels good to remove the parasite from around the oaks. After an hour I've cleared the whole spot except for the one surviving oak. It now has room to breathe.
One thing that does give me hope is that in the world of vines and trees there are many more trees!
The inquiry I am in today is twofold:
Today in Meeting a member spoke of the Grimké sisters, two Quaker women who were blessed with a mission to end slavery and women's subjugation. Articulate and clear, they were traveling missionaries who shared their conviction for abolition and women's suffrage.
In their lifetimes, Sarah Moore Grimké (1792–1873) and Angelina Emily Grimké (1805–1879), they witnessed the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil War, but it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to vote.
As Quakers we often feel frustrated because we seek a world of equality and fairness, but are faced daily with the glacial pace of change in Congress and the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans who blithely accept the status quo or work against equality.
The message in today's meeting was that all movements take time and we must take the long view and know that our participation in change, while seemingly small, will turn the tide in the long term. Specifically what was said was "grassroots movements bring change." and while we "support the legislative agenda of FCNL (Friends Committee on National Legislation) we should also be out in the street."
We can't wait for Congress or the President to make changes. Government is the last entity to fully grasp the will of the people. Margaret Mead said it best: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Today young people are demanding change. They are just a few years away from voting. If we value equality, community, peace, and integrity, we ought to be doing everything we can to support them in the halls of Congress ... and out in the streets!
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