August 8: life

After reading today’s scripture, I went for a walk and happened to see a bee. I spent a few minutes watching the bee. As they say, “busy as a bee”. That bee never stopped. It was busy, consumed with its life giving and life sustaining activity by moving from flower to flower. Get too close or threaten the bee’s activity and the bee will sting. The bee is prepared to sacrifice its own life if anything or anyone tries to stop its activity. From the time I wake up in the morning until the time I go to sleep at night, my life is also consumed with life. I hope my activities are life-sustaining and life-giving, but I know that often is not the case.

I concluded my walk in a prayer time. There are certain prayers that I pray every day to help me focus and listen for God’s direction. As I entered that prayer time, I had been thinking about a task that I need to do today that I don’t like to do. The task is necessary. If I avoid the task, it will only get harder to do. As I prayed, I focused not on my need and the task at hand, but I gave thanks for God and what I know about God and how I want my life to be open and available to God. And as I prayed, I found my focus shifting to what God wants and God’s task at hand. Suddenly I was experiencing life at an entirely different level.

I write all this as an outcome of today’s scripture: Life. Jeremiah received a Word from God: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” God had been with Jeremiah (and also me) even before Jeremiah (and me) knew there was a God. God’s focus is life, giving life and sustaining life. It is why the message of the prophets was relentless in calling the people back to God. And then John provided a picture of Jesus as the shepherd, always focused on the sheep. “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.” And that’s what I want. I already have life, and I keep busy at it. What I want is a life full and overflowing.

The call today to Jesus’ true sheep is to listen for his voice, and to find in him and him alone the life which is overflowing life. As I found through prayer and scripture again this morning, that’s what God offers if I will only take the time to listen.

Today’s readings: Jeremiah 1-2; John 10

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