Days of Grace: Meditations and Practices for Living with Illness by Mary C. Earle. 


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Day Twenty

He Provided for Them Food

Written By Mary C. Earle

Practice Note

Meditation: <listen>

So mortals ate the bread of angels;
He provided for them food enough.
—Psalm  78:25

When the Israelites found themselves in the wilderness of Sinai, God gave them a kind of bread called manna for food. The manna would last only for a day, and it appeared as frost on the ground. Food for the journey. Food for the day. Food that was sufficient for their needs.

I am one who likes to know I have enough food for several days, if not for a week—whether that is food for the table or food for the spirit. I have trouble believing that if I have food for one day, there will be food again the following day.

When our son Bryan was diagnosed with brain cancer, we learned to cherish food for the day. Initially, that food looked like good post operative reports. And then it began to look like diminished swelling and good response to radiation. Later it looked like Bryan’s happy participation in speech therapy and his steadily returning strength.

Then one day the cancer returned. We were in new territory. We had no map and we were completely out of hope, out of strategies to live with the cancer’s return. Bryan himself gave us the food, the manna that was enough. Later there would be days when we, his dear friends and family, gave him the manna. Food sufficient for the day. Bread of hope, bread of life, bread of love—shared and received as we all lived with illness.

O Christ, You are our bread and our sustenance. Grant me the grace this day to receive the bread of life and the food of hope that you offer. And may I share this bread with those I meet along the way. Amen.


Practice: <listen>

What kind of “bread” do you need this day? Bread of friendship? Bread of solitude? Bread of reassurance? Bread of nutrition? Reflect on what kind of manna you need right now, in this present moment. Write a prayer asking for what you need, and also remembering all those who have that same need this day.

Reference Note: All  psalms are taken from the psalter in The Book of Common Prayer, 1979.