Most of us will hit low points, moments when we feel too discouraged to continue, sometimes even feeling that life isn’t worth living. This was Elijah’s experience, until an angel touched him as he slept and said to him, “Get up and eat.” As 1 Kings 19.4-8 goes on to record, in the passage we read on 12 August: “He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food for forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.” It is on Horeb that Elijah hears God in the ‘still, small voice’, is reassured that there are 7,000 faithful still in Israel, and is told who to anoint as his successor.
Elijah’s experience reminds us that the physical and the spiritual can’t be separated, and we need those everyday miracles that sustain our marvellous, intricate bodies. One of our responses is in the annual thanksgiving for God’s bounty which we offer at this time of year.
The Gospel reading on the same day was John 6:35, 41-51: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Susan Palwick observes: “He feeds us, now, whenever we take communion. Jesus wants us to work to heal the world, but first, he wants us to have food for the journey. He knows we can’t think straight on empty stomachs. But he never force feeds us. The feast depends on our consent and participation. Elijah has to reach out to take the food the angel brings him.”
Based on Susan Palwick’s thoughts at this link.