Encouragement for a lifelong journey of faith

Category: Wendell Berry (Page 1 of 2)

May 28 — Health is Rooted in Love

Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

More thoughts for meditation:

Without love, health will not grow. The qualities of love that the writer of 1 Corinthians lists are vital for our journey. Not only do we need patience, kindness, truth, etc for others in order to spur on their healing but we need to give those things to ourselves as well.

One of Berry’s sabbath poems puts it like this,

“Whatever happens,

those who have learned

to love one another

have made their way

to the lasting world

and will not leave,

whatever happens.”

Suggestion for action:

Reread the passage from 1 Corinthians a few times. Notice what descriptive word sticks out to you. How are you experiencing that word when it comes to pursuing your own health and contributing to the health of those around you? Pick one of those words to put into action today for yourself and someone else and see what grows.

May 27 — Jesus Can Lead Us On the Journey of Health

Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt:

Matthew 11:28-29

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

More thoughts for meditation:

There is a certain love and grace available to us that makes the task of health light instead of burdensome. When we allow ourselves to be accompanied by Jesus, by one another and by healthy practices on the journey of healing, we see that we are not carrying ourselves through but are being carried.

In his concluding remarks on the task of health, Berry says,

“The love and work of friends and lovers belong to the task

and are its health.


Rest and rejoicing belong to the task, and are its grace.


Let tomorrow come tomorrow. Not by your will is the house

carried through the night.”

Suggestions for action:

The task of health and healing can feel heavy. Close your eyes and think of the places within you that feel most in need of healing. Imagine offering those places to Jesus, to loved ones around you and to yourself. Listen to how Jesus responds to your offering.

May 26 — Health Requires Being a Learner

Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt:

Matthew 23:13-14

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”

More thoughts for meditation:

This verse is just the beginning of a Jesus’ long list of woes about the Pharisees. Their self righteous, know it all posture towards life and spirituality kept them and their followers from truly hearing what Jesus was saying. When reading through the stories of Jesus’ interactions with those around him it becomes clear that it’s only those who have the posture of a learner and the willingness to admit their ignorance and sin that can understand the kingdom of God. We cannot receive the healing and transformation of Jesus if we are not teachable.

Berry says this,

“There is finally the pride of thinking oneself without teachers.

The teachers are everywhere. What is wanted is a learner.

In ignorance is hope. It is ignorance the teachers will come to.”

Suggestions for action:

Our culture puts a high value on intelligence and the acquiring of information and we often see education as a measure of security. How has this affected your spiritual posture as a learner? Think about the postures in which you approach Jesus and the community. How do these postures promote or prevent your health and transformation and the health and transformation of others? Are you eager to learn?

May 25 — Health Requires Order

Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt:

Read John 15:1-4

“I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.

“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.”

More thoughts for meditation:

Jesus points his disciples to nature to illustrate a healthy relationship between the human and the Divine. The creation that we find ourselves in is not chaotic or disorderly, but is often orderly and methodical.

As a farmer who has deep connections with the earth, Berry suggests that we take our cues from its order. He says,

“Order is the only possibility of rest.

The made order must seek the given order, and find its place in it.”

Suggestions for action:

Go outside, find something in nature and think about it processes. Maybe it’s a tree that responds to the seasons, maybe it’s a cocoon waiting to release a butterfly, maybe it’s a squirrel collecting food for winter. Whatever it is, meditate on how that process might inform the way in which you order your life and your spiritual practices.

Today is Ascension Day!  Learn about the Christian year at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body.

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