Dear Fellow Sojourners in the World,
I love going on long trips by car. It takes longer to get there … and back … but I just like seeing all the interesting things along the way. Of course, when I do this there’s a bit of preparation for the journey. I need to check out the car to make sure it’ll make there and back. I need to stock up on supplies and plan on things to do and see before I head out. And then, even the day I leave the house, there are those last-minute things to attend to just before heading out on the road. All this preparation is needed to ensure the journey is completed as envisioned.
In our Old Testament passage, we see a distraught Elijah who is just worn out. Going head-to-head with the prophets of Baal, he’s shown there is only one true, living God – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The prophets of Baal tried in a vain to get Baal to do something with their sacrifice while the God accepted Elijah’s sacrifice in dramatic fashion, destroying the prophets of Baal in the process (1 Kings 18:20-40). Now … Elijah is on the run because Queen Jezebel has put out a contract on him for killing her prophets.
Elijah, worn out, tells God, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” (1 Kings 19:4) In his mind, he’s done what God asked and he’s ready to be taken away from his difficult circumstance. I know I’ve felt this way at times. Not to the point of saying, “God, take my life.” But certainly, to the point of saying, “God, get me out of here! I can’t do this anymore.” But God had more for Elijah to do. God sent an angel to nourish Elijah for the next part of his journey telling him, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” (1 Kings 19:7) God prepared Elijah for his 40-day journey to Horeb (also called Mount Sinai) – where Moses received his call to rescue God’s people in Egypt and the Ten Commandments. There, Elijah would receive his next mission from God.
You and I are on journeys through the world today. Our trips across the country, to other continents, even to the grocery store and work are all part of the journey God, the same God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who set Elijah on his journey, has put us on. It can be a difficult journey and we can be tempted to say, “Enough God! I’m finished.” That’s when Jesus, the Bread of Life, says to us, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6:51) He nourishes us … strengthens us … prepares for the journey ahead. As travelers in this world, we’re on a journey to our eternal home, the kingdom of heaven. Through the gift of His Word and Sacraments, God prepares us for the work He envisions for us to do along the way.
In the Love of the Living Bread,