I have returned from a splendid journey to London and Iona, and now my actual and virtual worlds are filled with the comings and goings of those close to my heart: my son is about to fly to Belize, my husband is working in Salt Lake City for a few days, and many colleagues in ministry are gathered in Detroit for our denomination’s bi-annual assembly, trying to make airline connections, navigating strange roads full of wildlife or extreme weather. Now that I am back at home, holding the fort, my prayers have turned to those who are en route, leaving or arriving, and the words that keep coming to my heart are these words from the celebration of the Eucharist: “Bread for the journey.”
For those who are traveling in haste, I pray for the bread of peaceful patience, the ability to trust in the Holy One who accompanies them.
For those who are traveling into the unknown, I pray for manna of daily assurance that there will be enough–enough for survival, enough for vision, enough for joy.
For those who travel with great loads–either of baggage or of care– I pray that the bread of anxious toil can be replaced with the sustenance of daily bread that nourishes and revives.
For those who are traveling home with heavy hearts, I pray that they will be fed with the bread of angels, food of comfort and delight, that transforms the destination into a place of hope and restoration.For those who go out weeping, I pray that their mourning will be turned into dancing their way to the next right place.
In addition, I think of those who keep the home fires burning, who will be offering welcome and hospitality as the travelers arrive:
- give us generous hearts to share our bread or whatever it is we have with those who need it, even with those might just appreciate it
- give us perceptive eyes to see how it is that we can offer a graceful welcome to those on the road–in going an extra mile, in anticipating what might be necessary
- give us listening ears to notice and to attend to what is being said and that which remains unspoken; teach us when to speak and when to give space for silence
- give us a joyful elasticity to be adaptable and helpful to the sojourners among us
I am mindful today of the faithful ones in my denomination who will be heading for home tomorrow after eight intensive days of listening, speaking, deliberating and deciding on the course of our church in the USA for years ahead. Some have eaten heavenly bread and are coming home rejoicing; some are broken-hearted and are coming home in grief. All have gathered at the table of Christ where they have been offered Bread for the Journey and Strength for the Day together. That One Bread is the gift all have in common–the Bread of Life. It is our responsibility, that of very human bread-makers, bread-servers, bread-sharers to continue to share the Bread in peace, in love for the reconciliation of the Church and of the world.
Holy One, give us this Bread always, and make us compassionate deliverers of the Peace that passes understanding!