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Daily Devotional for August 5


August 5                                                                  Mark 8:1-10

My strongest memory of James, a friend who died of AIDS,
is of a postcard he once sent, a picture of a young man on
roller skates dressed as a fairy godmother, waving a wand, and
holding a sign which read: "It takes guts to be a butterfly!"
How true. Even the caterpillar must die to its old self, must
trust that in becoming a vulnerable chrysalis, it will emerge
as a new being, a butterfly.

I remember, too, another gay man, lying on the sofa at his
sister's house in the middle of an afternoon, dehydrated, unable
to keep food down, with a high temperature, a headache, and
the sweats; not even diagnosed yet, he had already stopped
caring and was ready to die. Suddenly, his three-year-old niece,
playing quietly in the same room, silently got up from her play,
walked over to the sofa, studied him a moment, then bent over,
lightly kissed his forehead, and without saying a word returned
to her quiet play. As he later said, that simple expression of
love gave him both the motivation and strength to fight the
illness. She had, he said, burst open the walls of his cocoon.

Death, suffering, and the pain of breaking open are all integral
parts of the human experience; but so, too, are joy, love, and
hope. Think of Jesus' willingness to trust God enough to be
broken and put to death. In the end, he rose, not as a
resuscitated corpse, but as a new being. The human heart, in
dying to itself, can also become a new creation.

Although often cited as an example of Christ's miraculous
powers, the miracle most meaningful to us in today's reading
may not be the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, but
rather the miracle that new life can be engendered by dying
to self and serving others. Just as the physical limits of this
world's time and space were transcended by the breaking again
and again of the loaves and fishes into a meal for four thousand,
so the passage also contains an invitation to us to love and
serve others, and so to break out of our shells and experience
the miracle of transformation.

    Jesus, I place myself and my life in your hands today.
  Give me the trust, faith, and just plain guts to break out
              of myself in the service of others. Amen.

From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C

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