Meditation for August

The account of Viktor Frankl’s survival in Nazi death camps, written in his famous memoir, Man’s Search for Meaning, tells about the relentless days of wretched suffering. But most remarkable are his words about finding meaning in a grim wasteland of loss, the discovery of something that gives life in an existence pulsing with cruelty and death. Few of us face such horrors, but many of us do know what it is to rise into mornings that drift into hollowed out nights, days of empty passages.

During a long stretch of loneliness, the man paced vacantly through once joyful corridors that had become a maze of confused anguish. For anyone and no one to hear, he cried, shouted, “This is no life!” He wanted neither to live nor to die. Nothing—shopping, traveling, eating, drinking, going, coming, playing, working, hoarding, shedding—nothing had meaning.

Today, Jesus speaks of himself as living bread from heaven, his flesh for food and his blood for drink. The Gospel of John offers no details of the Lord’s supper, no instructions spoken over bread and wine, no “Do this for the remembrance of me.” Instead, here, Jesus’ invitation is to share in his way of abundant life, in a word, “abide.”

Abide. You are not alone. Abide. Jesus is with you. Abide in communion with the one who hugs lepers, expels demons, breathes with the dead, rescues the far gone, goes to prison, wants the unwanted, loves the shamed, forgives the guilty, serves the servant, blesses the thieves, welcomes aliens, cancels debts, listens to children, gives the blind kaleidoscopes, the deaf symphonies, and the voiceless a song. May this be our prayer today: “When other helpers fail and comforts flee, help of the helpless, oh, abide with me” (ELW 629).

Devotional message and art based on the readings for August 19 reprinted from

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Mr. Frankl had to feel abandoned in those circumstances ; perhaps even abandoned by God.

Does this material speak to you? How?

Is it possible for us to come close to doing what Jesus did and still does?

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