We thought it was a gift, the basket of summer fruit: strawberries red as a rose, peaches wet as the dew, watermelons sweet as your love. But no, God. The basket was a judgment of all we have taken for granted and all we have coveted for ourselves. We boast in what we did not create. We reap what we did not sow. We claim what we did not seek.
Let the watermelon be sour on our tongues so long as we live in greed.
We thought it was a gift, the meal laid out beneath the oak tree: bread warm as the sun, curds fresh as the new day, meat tender as ripe olives. But no, God. The meal was a provocation, a troubling of our contentment, a challenge to our assumed limitations. We accept enough when there is more. We deny possibilities when fear is more palatable.
Let the bread be stale in our hands so long as we neglect the work of hope.
We thought it was a gift, this flesh we inhabit: bodies for living and loving, breath for singing and sighing, community for creating and holding. But no, God. This flesh is a surrender to eternity, a humility at the foot of mystery, an instruction against distractions. We do not know when to work or when to rest, when to suffer or when to prevail.
Let each breath be deep and full into our lungs while we strive to live faithfully.
on the RCL texts for Proper 11 (16), Year C
Rachel G. Hackenberg‘s book with Martha Spong, Denial Is My Spiritual Practice (and Other Failures of Faith), searches for faith through life’s trials. Rachel has also written Writing to God and other books.