Today's blog post was written and provided by a very special guest writer and Waked Up reader, Joshua Bugajski.
My spouse and I really enjoy our bird-feeder that my father-in-law made for us. We intended on seeing many types of birds, but we more often feed the squirrel population of downtown
Raleigh. As soon as I fill the bird-feeder up,
the squirrels come and turn into skilled acrobats as they climb on top of the
feeder and tilt it so the seed falls to the ground. I don’t even know why I
bother filling the feeder because they just come and dump it out and therefore,
I should just pour it on the ground. This however would take away from our
entertainment and watching their clever ways of getting the seed out.
When all the seed as been eaten, I will often see the squirrels, birds, and chipmunks come back and check to see if we have refilled the feeder. They will search the ground for any seeds that may have been left behind. Recently, we ran out of seed and it was several days before we were able to get to the store and buy more. I noticed during that time that we did not see any squirrels or birds in our backyard. They gave up and left. A week before and we saw dozens of them, and now not a one in sight. Once I fill up the feeder again, they come and devour it as if they haven’t had enough to eat. Being a nurturer, I feel an obligation to make sure my little furry and feathered children are well-fed.
Yesterday at church, my rector talked about manna. I’ll be honest I don’t remember much about the sermon as my mind began to wonder about what it must have been like to find manna on the ground. I also wondered why the Israelite's were always complaining and doubting God as He had to constantly perform miracles to prove His power to keep them off Moses’ back. Then a wave of conviction came upon me and I realized I do the same thing myself. I doubt God’s provision and worry about finances and how I’m going to make it to the next month of bills and needs. Thank God that even through these times, my needs somehow are met and we make it another month and so on.
My rectors’ voice began to just seem like a mumble in the background and a voice in my head began to review over the past several years of my personal turmoil. I went through a few years of addiction after a period of doubt in God, the personal loss of several close people in my life, the loss of my career, my home, and mountains of debt. I found myself lifeless in a rehab facility with all hope lost. After a couple of years I regained some pride and started over, but more storms came. I went through another job loss, a devastating house fire and so on. Reflecting on these hard times, I realized that my needs were always met and the Divine never left my side while wondering in “the desert” of hardship. I was fed by people's help, prayers, and financial provisions. Maybe manna still exists, but in a more spiritual form.
On the way home from church, I began to think about the “manna” in my own life. It comes in many forms. Manna in Hebrew is described as a white substance that resembled coriander seed. It could be ground up and made into bread. The manna would spoil overnight if they tried to save any of it, therefore causing His people to rely on him daily for 40 years to provide it everyday (what a faith-stretcher!)
Manna, to me, is that moment I take time to sit on my patio alone in silence from a noisy world, observing the herons as I kayak down the river, enjoying a self-prepared meal from scratch, an encouraging word that lifts me up just when I need it, reaping the harvest from your garden, sharing a laugh over a beer with friends, watching the sunrise on the beach, and just living in the moment. Just like my little furry friends come and look for seed, I too must seek in search for spiritual manna. Sometimes, it’s blatantly lying on the ground for me, but there are times I have to go searching for it. This often requires putting away my cell phone, the computer, the television, etc. It’s asking God to reveal to me each day the little flakes of manna, just as the Israelite's had to seek daily for fresh manna. I must not overlook and get too busy drowning in the monotony of daily life that I don’t look down to see the showers of blessings and provisions that the Divine has given me just for that day. I cannot get distracted worrying about yesterday, because that manna is gone, and I cannot worry about not having manna tomorrow because I can only seek manna in this very moment. I can only trust that like every time past, that God will provide in His perfect timing. What will spoil my manna and make it not fit for consumption is doubt and worry. I can also provide manna to others with a word of encouragement, fulfilling another’s need, sending a hand-written note/letter, or just spreading a good attitude within my workplace.
Christ gives Himself to us in the Eucharist, shares in our
journey of life. He makes Himself food, the true manna which sustains our
life. In the Eucharist, the Lord makes us walk on His road, that of
service, of sharing and of giving. When we receive the Body of Christ –
as has been done by thousands of years – do we really appreciate the gift that
is given to us? Do we allow it to give us the strength to walk on the
road to the Divine?
|Joshua (hat) and his spouse at taking in the sunrise|