Just Start Pouring

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 — Week of Proper 18, Year One

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

(Book of Common Prayer, p. 982)

Psalms 119:49-72 (morning) // 49, (53) (evening)

1 Kings 17:1-24

Philippians 2:1-11

Matthew 2:1-12

On many mornings these days, I find myself running short on several things. Today, I’m running short on time, sleep, and groceries. On other days, it might be money, energy, patience, or grace that seem like they’ll be depleted too soon. Like the widow in Zarephath from today’s first reading, I feel unprepared and dangerously low on supplies: “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug.”

But God has told Elijah that this widow will feed not only herself and her son, but also Elijah himself. Elijah instructs her not to be afraid, but to pour out the oil, mix it with the meal, and make a little cake first for Elijah and then for herself and her son. He promises, “The jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.”

Sometimes, we just have to take Elijah’s advice and start pouring. Nothing is prepared, supplies are running low, but we can pour out what we have. When we just start pouring, we might find ourselves unexpectedly replenished by another source.

Our second reading also pleads with us to just start pouring—not our finite resources, but our very selves. The Letter to the Philippians desperately wants its audience to live in a community formed through humility, sympathy, and service. This passage asks us to adopt the same mind as Christ, who “emptied himself . . . being born in human likeness.”

We, too, should just start pouring: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” The letter asks its audience to pour out our own agendas, goals, and self-importance in order to live in loving community and to imitate Christ’s own self-emptying.

Do you feel ready for today? Whether we have an abundance or a shortage of time, energy, meals, enthusiasm, compassion, zeal, or faith, let’s just start pouring. We can give ourselves to this day’s demands and to one another. Perhaps the Lord will send replenishing rain tomorrow!

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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