Attempting to escape to a quiet retreat to enjoy solidarity with God, Jesus is met with a mob of hungry people. Jesus finds himself under the pressure of thousands of people, and he first invites them to sit down on the grass.  Of all things. Sit, be still, I will take care of you.  Not even stand in line, make your way, allow me to organize the distribution of food to you. Instead, I have a team – the disciples – who will carry the food to you. You will be fed to the point of satisfaction.  As a matter of fact, we will enjoy leftovers. 

Are you hungry? Are you wanting to enjoy God’s presence?

Perhaps the invitation to sit down on the grass is ever before us, especially when we are under pressure.  The act of stopping where we are firmly planted affords us the opportunity to notice what is going on all around us – to acknowledge the many ways in which God already shows up with what we need, we get to receive what God offers.

For many of us, when we experience pressure and stress, sitting down and being still is the last thought on our mind. When worries and thoughts overtake our nervous system, jitters amp up as peace and calm grows increasingly more difficult to grasp.  Our natural instinct is not to turn to resources beyond ourselves.  Yet maybe, just maybe, we can learn a few things as Jesus feeds thousands.  Might we pause to notice the invitation to “be” in order to receive. In this one verse, we hear once again Jesus reminding us that we do not experience the pressures of this world alone.  Instead, God sends fellow disciples into our lives so we do not have to rely solely on our own efforts.

What does this look like? When the pressures of ________ (fill in the blank of your pressure here) arise, how might you “be” to receive? For me, this might look like:

Replacing obsessive thoughts, worry and research about a family member’s illness with prayer for the extensive team of doctors, nurses, practitioners whose degrees and life experiences outweigh my best Web MD and google searches.

Noticing what is really going on with my body when hunger pangs set it – am I hungry for connection, self-soothing, or truly in need of food nourishment?

The next time you are under pressure, this might your invitation to sit down in the grass to receive God’s food for your journey, one breath at a time.

Deacon Marsha Roscoe

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Marsha Roscoe