Today's Gospel reading uses the parable of the grain of wheat to encourage us to give of ourselves to those around us. It challenges us to ask ourselves difficult questions - what I can do to build community with my neighbor? how can I offer some form of service to those closest (and farthest from) to me?
These are great questions to ask. But I'd like to give a "spin" on this emphasis to "give of ourselves."
The end of this past week the staff took a break to go on retreat at Jeffer's Tree Farm near Athens, OH. Every spring we take some sort of retreat to rejuvenate ourselves before the approaching craziness of the summer season. A large reality that came out of this retreat was the fact that I, as well as others in our community, can be more disciplined and dedicated to our own needs, especially that of prayer. Tending to these needs also allows us to better tend to the needs of those around us - therefore engaging in service and fostering community. Ironic how if we are more in tune with ourselves then we can be more in tune with our surroundings, right? So what if we take this theme of giving of ourselves and give ourselves to God in prayer? In what ways can we be more dedicated to our personal needs? How can that help us to then give of ourselves to others?
It is my natural tendency to want to surround myself with people. So during group weeks the only things that can hold me back from spending time with volunteers are my own responsibilities and my lack of sleep. When volunteers aren't here I am easily engaged by the staff community. While these are two great things that I want to continue to seek in my life, they also cause me to lose sight of my own need for personal time. I spend all my time working, hanging out with others, and wondering why my prayer life and other relationships feel a bit off. In the end all I really need is some discipline to be aware of my own needs and to do my best to take that time to rejuvenate myself, or else I become too worn out and am not the person I want to be.
Spend some time in prayer this week reflecting on that and the Farm's theme of "right relationships." Before the sacredness of Holy Week comes upon us, take some time to reflect on how you might be in a better relationship with yourself and with God.