Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Is there another way?

The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live...He has penetrated the whole mystery of life: giving thanks for everything. ~ Albert Schweitzer

This prayer was composed by Rabbi Lazer Brody. Another interesting spiritual teacher.

Yesterday became a flurry day as I made last minute preparations to leave home once more and to travel to help Daughter #3 and her very unhappy baby.  I left Indianapolis in late afternoon and began the bus ride north. Evening is always the most difficult time of day.  Physical pain issues seem to be on full alert. Texting to a friend, she suggested I try centering prayer for the next two hours.

Seriously, I am not "there" and I don't know that I will ever get "there".

When the pain becomes so intense, it is like I become the servant and the pain the master.  Is it possible to keep this from happening?

Ann continues her early reflections on Eucharisteo.  She is thinking more about emotional loss...pain.  Is it possible that Eucharisteo is also the mystery to the fullest life when one is battling physical pain?

The Apostle Paul knew physical pain...and in that pain he offered up Thanksgiving...
I might have found the holy grail...and lost it, moved on. And yet really - hadn't God set the holy grail in the center of Christianity? Eucharisteo, it's the central symbol of Christianity. Thanksgiving. The table with its emblems is the essence of what it means to live the Christ-life....Doesn't the continual the table of the Eucharist clearly place the whole of our lives into the context of thanksgiving? (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p 34)
Ann challenges me to consider that the elements of the Table are the most common foods, bread and the drink of vine.  Two basic elements that have been a part of our meal taking across centuries and cultures.

In other words, Jesus did not institute the Eucharist around a once-a-year event!

The simple food of the Table....a slice of bread and drinking a cup from the fruit of the vine...Is this not an every day occurrence for most of us!

1 Corinthians 11:26 reads: "...whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup..."


I eat bread and drink juice, every day....

Ann reminds me it is not just "whenever" but also "wherever: here"
Doesn't Christ, at His death meal, set the entirety of our everyday bread and drink lives into the framework of Eucharisteo? The Big Dipper lurks low outside the window. Yet, how does the framework of Eucharisteo undergird a life? Penetrating the mystery is like discovering galaxies; there is always more. (Ibid)

Is it not a truth that the more I know...the less I actually know?

Shaping dough into loaves, Ann reflects on her thoughts and writes that she decides, this time, she will enter into the mystery. 
...I think how Jesus took the bread and gave thanks...and then the miracle of the multiplying of loves and fishes. 
How Jesus took the bread and gave thanks...and then the miracle of Jesus enduring the cross for the joy set before Him. 
How Jesus stood outside Lazarus's tomb, the tears streaming down His face, and He looked up and prayed...and then the miracle of a dead man rising! Thanksgiving raises the dead! (Voskamp, p 35)
Eucharisteo - thanksgiving - always precedes the miracle.

Alexander Schmemann writes in his book, For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy:
"The only real fall of man is his noneucharistic life in a noneucharistic world."

: ) Remember, Ann has already nudged me to consider I am reliving the Garden Story...that the Serpent was an ingrate.

Non-eucharisteo...humanity's, my, discontent with all that God freely gives.  How can the midst of my ordinary life hang on to eucharisteo and live from an attitude of thanksgiving?

Might a life of eucharisteo really work the miracle of the God-communion? (Voskamp, p 37)

Yet, to live from this place, is to live as Jesus lived.

That means, like Jesus, on the eve of his arrest, trial, and crucifixion...he took bread and offered thanksgiving.

Jesus offered thanksgiving, knowing God would abandon him.

Jesus offered thanksgiving, knowing he would be tortured...broken...

Jesus offered thanksgiving for the joy (chara) that would follow.

The mystery always contains more mystery. (Ibid)

I know the story.... and I ask if there is not another way.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:16:
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?

Last night, in the black of the bus, watching the lights of Daughter #3's city home I battled with pain and spasms...

The lights of the city shone so bright, and as I watched...they came nearer and became brighter until I was in their midst....until I was held within the light.

Is that how this journey toward gratitude ?

Standing in the midst of my darkness...that I can see the light of what is coming?

Standing in the midst of my darkness, is it like the first glance of the city...bright but on within my reach?

Is there another way?

Is there a way to enter this journey of living as Jesus without the trial, pain, and darkness?

This picture reminds me the "rose" also carries thorns, just as this beautiful flower is surrounded by hard needles.

I "know" the answer...doesn't make it any easier.

I've written I am facilitating a conversation on the character of Job on Sunday's.  I didn't plan this cross over at the time, but Job's story resonates as I consider and reflect on the idea of Eucharisteo.

I found another meditative piece by Rabbi Brody that spoke to my heart as I draw this to a close in order to dance with this baby.... Ummmm how much am I like this crying baby? : )

Three Minute Meditative Cure....

Many Blessings ~ Sandi


  1. I believe I recognize that "city"! I hope that both you, your daughter and the baby benefit greatly from being together.


  2. sorry about your pain...but even in the midst of it, I sense you stretching to learn more about yourself in the midst of it....dark and light....we all seem to resonate between the two drastic extremes....interesting post....maybe fussy baby really just needed to be rocked by his grandmother....happy rocking and just keep stretching to get there into the meditative center.....happy tuesday...