Sunday, February 7, 2010


“Do not worry about tomorrow … each day has enough trouble of its own.”
—Matthew 6:34

“Today in your hearing this scripture is fulfilled.”
—Luke 4:21
There is something about working among the poor that puts the words above into a vivid context. People are missing some of the most basic necessities—food, shelter, safety. And these needs are urgent. I have talked to people who need bread today—not tomorrow, not in a little while. Right now. Today. So we open up the freezer at my place of work and send them away with a loaf.

In some ways, it is a luxury to have the space to worry about what might happen tomorrow or the day after that or the day after that. You have confidence that enough of the basic necessities will be met today to allow you to reflect on other needs down the road—a sense of purpose, meaningful relationships, being valued in community, healing and wholeness for the soul and the body. Yet having the luxury to think about tomorrow does not make it any easier to survive today.

These other needs are just a different kind of bread for which our souls may be starving. The call here is to be present in today, whatever we are missing. In these words from Luke, Jesus speaks in this kind of immediacy with his announcement of hope: “Today in your hearing this scripture is fulfilled.” Not tomorrow, not in some distant far-off future, but today. Right now.

It is easy to mark off the ways I am fortunate (I have a freezer full of bread). It is harder to admit the ways I fall short of the hope in these words. I worry about tomorrow. I fail to fulfill the promise of this “today” for those who are in dire need of bread of all kinds. And yet I hope that the one who announced these words of promise will keep announcing them to the places in my heart where things are missing, keep announcing them through all who extend a hand to those in need, keep announcing them to all of us who sometimes find it hard to be here, in this moment, today.

1 comment:

Lorraine said...

this so resonates with me right now--esp with the whole Mona situation . . . it will be good to talk to you about this stuff face-to-face!!!

I have been thinking a lot about the fact that part of this "luxury" of which you speak is that we are like the church in Laodecia (sp?) in Revelation--we are hungry, blind, naked, but we have no clue that we are this helpless. In this, the poor have SO much to teach us . . . if only we were listening.