Daily Bread July 26

Find Beauty in Fungus
Nina Warriner of Bath, NY, USA

The Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
    to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and release to the prisoners….
 to provide for those who mourn in Zion-
    to give them a garland instead of ashes -Isaiah 61:1, 3

At a women’s retreat during the fall we were asked to take a contemplative walk-to be mindful of what we saw, what we heard, and what we felt. I have frequently been drawn to grand scenes of nature-the rolling hillsides, the crashing waterfall, the colorful sky. But for this walk, I decided to look deeper, seeking out smaller signs of life. I noticed white speckles scattered deep underneath a bush. I ended up getting down on my hands and knees, crawling under the bush, to see what they were. I was surprised and captivated by what I saw-tiny white mushrooms with delicately carved grooves on their caps. These tiny fungi were a beautiful sight to behold.

We are called to look beyond the surface of others, to go deep and experience one another in a real and vulnerable way. In doing so, we may experience things that at first glance seem undesirable-such as fungus. However, when we seek to build relationships founded in the love of Christ, we find the beauty in the fungus and uncover the holy within each other.

Prayer Phrase

“Awake, my soul!” (Psalm 57:8 NRSV)

Spiritual Practice

The Prayer of the Heart

Early Christian disciples desired to take seriously the scripture mandate to pray “without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The prayer of the heart invites us to pray “continuously” by repeating and returning to a prayer phrase planted for intentional reflection and deepening. Choose a word or phrase (from scripture, hymnody, or personal reflection) that has meaning for you. The Jesus Prayer is one form of the prayer of the heart: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me” (Luke 18:35-43). Invite this simple phrase to repeat in your heart throughout the day, awakening your soul to God’s presence.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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