Thursday, August 2, 2012

Doing and Seeing Things Over and Over

So, I mentioned the other day in my previous blog that the story of Elisha being presented with 20 loaves reminded me of several New Testament stories.  In fact, Fr. Sam commented on the fact that the story of needing to feed a multitude with limited resources was repeated three times in the Old Testament and numerous times in the New Testament.  He pointed out that there were always five elements of the story: (1) a holy man was presented with a crowd that was hungry; (2) someone brought him a small amount of food; (3) someone doubted that it would be sufficient; (4) the people were fed; (5) there were leftovers.

The fact that this theme was repeated multiple times reminds me of the entry in my last blog last week about the repetition and the lyrical quality of the story of Noah in the book of Genesis when I read it closely.  What is most interesting to me about that is that it is similar to interpretations of the story of creation that I have read and even the original story of creation.  Where it is always a matter of "and on this day, God did X."  Also, when you think about it the repetition of themes is actually a standard oart of fairy tales. Take Goldilocks and the Three Bears as an example.  Over and over again she did something she should not have and found that two of the three options she sampled were a problem.  Or the three little pigs.  It didn't have to be two pigs who messed up and built their houses of materials that would not withstand the test of time, but repeating the message twice helps kids learn the moral.

So, if you think about it, the fact that the holy writings of the Bible reflect the same theme over an over is sort of like a God saying to us, "Hey, did you get the memo.  If I told you once, I told you a thousand times--when people are in need of nourishment I can handle it."

And when it comes to my physical self, the connecting is that running is all about repetition.  Stride by stride.  Or on the track, half-mile by half-mile.  Sometimes just trying to hold a time.  Sometimes trying to improve a time.  But the key is that I have to be ready for and welcome repetition to enjoy training in general and track workouts specifically.  Running and training for running are all about repetition. Things that cannot be changed but that I can adapt to.

Of course, when it comes to nourishment there are even more stories than simply the holy man faced with a large crowd.

So, when all is said, and done, looking at the stories from the Bible on Sunday and thinking of how they relate to what I was pondering last week and the notion of story telling in general, it is interesting to connect the dots.  We as people need to be reminded that God can do anything. We are limited--although we are limited only by our faith in the end.  With greater faith--and taking time to "get the message" from the memos God tries to send us through the Bible, we can be better agents of change in the direction of God's will in this world.  And given how moved I feel by the words in Scripture this past Sunday and the clear linkages to other recent themes, the more amazed I am at how God communicates with me, helps me to connect the dots, and helps me to nourish my soul.

Tomorrow and Saturday, I'll comment on the relative faith of different stakeholders in the Gospel of John story and then on the letter from Paul.  By that time it will be Sunday again and time to think anew about connecting dots and nourishing my soul with my own observations and the interaction with the many amazing souls around me.   

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