The Collect: Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that He may live in us, and we in Him; Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Reflection: As on any trek, so it is on our Christian walk. Rough terrain, potholes, broken bridges and detours slow progress. Once buoyant spirits begin to flag, strength diminishes, loneliness and isolation give birth to frustration and despair as the goal, so apparently attainable at the start, appears to recede with increasing obstacles. Lent, at particular seasons of our lives and especially at a time like this, can be indeed difficult.
Aware of this, Mother Church establishesstrategically-placed ‘rest stops’ during the liturgical year – times for revitalisation, refuelling and encouragement. Not only is every Sunday of the year a refreshing festival recalling the day of Resurrection, butnow half-way through this 40-day penitential Lenten Journey, this day is set aside as Refreshment Sunday. Today, concentration on individual introspection, repentance, fasting and sobriety yields to a welcome opportunity for hope-enhancing, life-infusing strengthening of individuals and community.
Today, we are unable to gather as a congregation, but we do remember the Israelites who pleaded with their leader Moses, for bread which they were accustomed to having while they were in Egypt, even as they were on their journey out of slavery in Egypt, to the Promised Land. Our merciful God provided this band of complaining travellers with bread, on a daily basis, feeding them with the “true bread” which would satisfy more than their physical needs. And, in the often-told story of the feeding of a five thousand-man congregation, we are reminded that Jesus, in His mercy, provides the true bread – source of abundant nourishment and refreshment for us, a community of famishing, people. We come, experiencing varying degrees and types of hunger and are not being sent away to scramble through the wildernesses of our lives fending on our own. Faithfully, our Friend and Provider sustains us with “this bread, that He may live in us, and we in Him”.
As we gather at the banquet table this Refreshment Sunday to feast on “the true bread which gives life to the world,” Jesus charges us, as His disciples, to use all available resources to ‘feed’ His starving flock. His bounteous grace is sufficient to refresh His people to move from places of need, on through and beyond Calvary refilled, revived, recharged.
Meditation: “We come to the hungry feast, hungry for a world released
From hungry folk of ev’ry kind, the poor in body, poor in mind.
We come, we come to the hungry feast”. (Ray Makeever, Hungry Feast, 1982)
Prayer: Bread of Life, we ask You to nourish, energise and use us to give life to Your hungry world. Amen.
The St. Jude’s Writers
St. Jude’s Church
Anglican Diocese of Jamaica and The Cayman Islands
14 March 2021