Summer school challenge

Published 10:46 am Thursday, May 30, 2019

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

Those words abide in the prayer Jesus taught his disciples, known as The Lord’s Prayer. I think of the poignancy for one who is lacking food. I, myself, have periodically known a growl of hunger when going too long between meals in a day, but I have not known the uncertainty as some have, of whether the day would include that meal.

A person can go for quite some time without something to eat. Scripture tells about Jesus fasting for 40 days. Some people must stop eating ahead of surgery. Some keep a prayer-discipline of fasting one day each week. Others will set aside some particular food for a season (like Lent). Imagine, though, going for more than a month without food.

A person can go for a shorter period of time without having anything to drink. It is not advised, especially as we reach summer temperatures. At some point, our bodies will overheat, suffer heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Even a person in good shape will not survive a week without being hydrated. Such conditions demonstrate the body’s definitive need for physical sustenance.

Similarly, a person needs spiritual food and hydration as well. Whether we realize it or not, we hunger to be fed with a steady diet of scripture to chew on. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we thirst to drink deeply of the Holy Spirit.

In the time of Jesus, a child was raised on stories. The stories began with Genesis and flowed through the first five books, known as the Torah. After the child knew and could tell this collection, they advanced to the histories (Joshua, Judges … through to Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther). Once they mastered the histories, they would engage the prophets and finally wisdom-literature. Each step was formed by story-telling as a child digested each story to retell it and then to interpret what it meant.

This summer let me offer you a challenge. Partner with someone and tell each other a Bible story each day. Try to tell your chosen story from memory, then look it up and check to see how you did with the details. This exercise can be fun, as well as rewarding. With nearly a hundred days this summer, that’s a lot of great stories to share, and a lot of good food for your soul.

REV. MICHAEL KENDALL can be reached at kendallmp@aol.com.