Scripture for Today: Feeding the Thousands
My friend Julian and I recently had a conversation about how thinking about time as rhythm rather than structure loosens our adherence to the clock and deepens our connection to the needs of the moment.
For me, this means letting go of a schedule that siphons activities into thirty-minute blocks and instead remaining mindful of how I fit prioritized activities into the day. It requires an attention to my energy level, the needs of those around me, and the ever-changing context of the world.
Perhaps because of my conversation with Julian, I was particularly drawn to the way Jesus intuits his way through the feeding of the thousands in every Gospel account. He knows that he and his disciples are tired so he plans on them spending time alone and, according to some of the versions of the story, he gets a little quiet time but it is soon interrupted by a crowd who has come to be with him.
Rather than sending them away because “it’s not time for that sort of ministry,” Jesus’ open-hearted nature conjures up compassion within him. This attention to the needs of the situation rather than to the confines of a schedule is the same impulse that motivates Jesus to feed the crowd when it was time to eat.
I am inspired by Jesus’ prioritization of moment over fixed structure, whole over parts, and relationship over preference. His choice illustrates not only his deep identification with people but also his disregard for the proper structures of time that we “should” adhere to in our world. Those are structures that, when unexamined, support dominant ways of being. One example might be choosing to arrive on time rather than having a valuable conversation with someone or ignoring the needs of someone living on the street to get to a work meeting.
On the other hand, the rhythmic way of living invites us into a deeper sense of what brings about right-relationship with ourselves, one another, and the world around us.
Prayer: May I have the wisdom to follow God’s rhythm.
Reflection: When have I allowed structure prevent me from being present with myself or others? How might I loosen my connection to a schedule to deepen my connection to current needs?
Art: Eric Feather, from Growing in Grace
Attribution: Our conversation about time as rhythm was inspired by the Mystic Soul Project rule of life.