Eating the bread of Presence ... the daily and hourly living Eucharist.

Eating the bread of Presence ... the daily and hourly living Eucharist.

This past couple weeks, I’ve been focused on giving talks about an endangered species. These talks have been in High School, Middle School, Elementary, and before that camping environments. Some days, I was giving one hour, back to back presentations, for up to six hours straight. The content and circumstance of the talk are not relevant. I wish to share with you a particular experience I had while right in the middle of these rolling presentations.

It is amazing, when repeating the same talk hour after hour, the things that begin happening in your head. The words begin blending together and there is the risk of doubting whether you’ve just said the thing you are currently saying, that is, you begin wondering whether you are repeating your words even in the same presentation.

It also happens, there is such a need for focus on the content of the talk, that it is tempting to push Presence into the background instead of giving the whole of the circumstance over to it. Fatigue starts settling in and the want to just let Presence go can be particularly strong.

At one point, in a discussion with a group of young boys and girls who were obviously not interested in the talk and who were all but ignoring me and were rude and mean, I felt the spirits of anxiety, frustration, and anger approach the horizon of my soul ... an inward reflection of some of the behaviors I was witnessing outside of me; both, however, were external to who I was. Yet, I was tired and I had a headache and it just keep coming to me to let these spirits like have their way. “After all,” the outward thought came to me, “you should be anxious and frustrated.” “You deserve to be anxious.”

It is important to highlight that, at this point, “I” was not any of these spirits or thoughts. They were there before me and offering themselves for my attention. The power of the presence of Christ within me was upon me and kept space open. However, I was tired and weak and tempted to give my identity over to these spirits because it takes effort and intention to hold to the garment of Presence. It takes no effort to give yourself over to anxiety and frustration.

Then, right in the midst of it all, I closed my eyes and I ate the bread of Presence and entered into living Eucharist and the Life surged within me and I was refreshed and stood on the Rock of Ages. Anger, frustration, anxiety, and fear, were lost in the light of Presence. I finished the talk in joy and the kids actually sang with me at the end.

It is such a blessing to know and experience the inward Light daily and hourly and to embrace it in all circumstances. Eternity is ever before you and you are eternal ... saved from identity with outward things ... living the Gospel ... eating the bread of Presence in the daily and hourly Eucharist. What a blessing, because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we know the living Eucharist in all moments, and there is no need for outward practice or the outward temple or meeting house, or sanctuary. Presence itself is our sanctuary. Presence itself is our practice. Presence itself is our bread. Presence itself is our Eucharist. We do not have to go to any physical building or place to eat the bread of Presence. It is ever Presence in all moments and circumstances.

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Comment by Patricia Dallmann on 9th mo. 12, 2014 at 8:26am

I agree; it's a beautiful post. You've provided a step-by-step account of a battle and victory in the Lamb's War. It wasn't the audience of children - and by implication, any other outward provocation - that is the enemy. Rather it's the inward temptation to give over to frustration, anxiety, anger,  or envy, pride, fear etc. that is overcome by receiving Christ Within, who is more powerful than any darkness. Your description of elation and strength with the children singing with you at the end lifted my heart and affirmed that human beings have within them something that responds to Christ. As Fox often said: "The power of the Lord is over all." 

Comment by Keith Saylor on 9th mo. 12, 2014 at 11:01pm

Thank you and blessings Jeff and Patricia. I'm mindful when Jesus requested those with him at Gethsemane keep watch; only to find them sleeping. Eating the bread of Presence strengthens intentional perpetual watch.

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