Friday 14 May 2021

Bible Book:

O LORD, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill? (v. 1)

Psalm 15 Friday 14 May 2021

Acts 1:15-26  Psalm 15


As we stand between the Ascension and Pentecost, we find ourselves in a waiting time. As we reflect upon the opening words of Psalm 15 we are led to wait upon the Lord, in the presence of the Lord, in the house of the Lord alongside the people of the Lord.

Preachers pick up stories as they go along and offer them back into the community through our sermons. Here is one¹ of those stories that I have picked up on the way, which reminds us how crucial it is that we acknowledge the presence of Christ in each other as we live together in our communities of faith.

A monastery had fallen on very hard times. People no longer came there to be nourished by prayer. A handful of old monks shuffled through the cloisters and praised God with heavy hearts. Nearby, an old rabbi had built a tiny hut in which he would fast and pray. One day the abbot decided to visit the rabbi and open his heart to him. As he approached the hut, the abbot saw the rabbi standing in the doorway, his arms outstretched in welcome. It was as though he had been waiting there for some time. In the middle of the room was a wooden table with the Scriptures open on it. They sat there for a moment, in the presence of the Book. Then the rabbi said, "You have come to ask a teaching of me. I will give you a teaching, but you can only repeat it once. After that, no one must ever say it aloud again." The rabbi looked straight at the abbot and said, "The Messiah is among you."

The next morning, the abbot called his monks together. He told them that he had received a teaching from the rabbi who walks in the woods, and that this teaching was never again to be spoken aloud. Then he looked at each of his brothers and said, "The rabbi said that one of us is the Messiah."

The monks were startled by this, saying "Is brother John the Messiah? No, he's too old and crotchety. Is brother Thomas? No, he's too stubborn and set in his ways. Am I the Messiah? What could this possibly mean?"

They were all deeply puzzled by the rabbi's teaching. But no one ever mentioned it again.

As time went by the monks began to treat one another with a very special reverence. There was a gentle, wholehearted, human quality about them. They lived with one another as brothers who had finally found something. Visitors found themselves deeply moved by the genuine caring and sharing that went on. People were again coming from far and wide to be nourished by the prayer life. And young men were asking, once again, to become part of the community.

In those days, the rabbi no longer walked in the woods. His hut had fallen into ruins. But somehow or other, the older monks who had taken his teaching to heart still felt sustained by his prayerful presence.


To Ponder:

  • What is the first thing that comes into your head after reading this story?
  • How in recent times have you felt sustained by a prayerful presence?

¹Included in William R White Stories for the Journey: A Sourcebook for Christian Storytellers, Augsburg Fortress, 1988

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