Matthew 14:13-21: Gideon Bustamante, The Philippines
Sit for a few moments in quiet stillness. Focus on your breathing taking slow, deep breaths. Try to turn your focus away from outside thoughts and simply focus on your breathing. Sit in quiet for as long as you would like.
When you are ready, read the following passage of scripture. As you read, allow the ear of your heart to listen for a word or phrase that resonates with you.
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.’ Jesus said to them, ‘They need not go away; you give them something to eat.’ They replied, ‘We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.’ And he said, ‘Bring them here to me.’ Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
After you have completed the reading, allow that word or phrase to resound within you. If you are in a group, take turns sharing only that word or phrase.
Allow the word or phrase you have chosen to repeat in prayerful silence.
After a short period of reflection, read the scripture a second time. This time, reflect on any thoughts or feelings that come up for you while reading the scripture again. What might God be asking you through the reading of this scripture?
After reading for a second time, take a few moments in silence to continue this personal reflection.
When you are ready, watch the following video of a personal reflection from one of Episcopal Relief & Development’s partners.
Gideon works for the Episcopal Care Foundation (E-Care), a nonprofit in the Philippines. As he describes in the video, Gideon played a key role in responding to Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Their team was able to mobilize local assets to help the community recover. In addition to disaster response, Episcopal Relief & Development partners with E-Care in their offset program. In this program, E-Care plants trees to offset around 300 tons of carbon each year, emissions produced by staff air travel. For information about other programs in the Philippines, visit this webpage.
After watching the video, reflect prayerfully on what you heard. How has this person’s relationship with God given them a unique perspective?
After reflecting on the words from the video, read the passage a third time. As you read, listen once again with the ear of your heart and respond spontaneously as you listen. Notice any prayerful response that arises within you, for example a small prayer of gratitude or praise.
If you are alone, continue this prayerful reflection for a time after you complete the reading. If God is calling you to silent reflection, simply spend time in the quiet. If you are in a group, a time of prayerful silence follows the third reading.
Following this brief period of silence, an appointed person may say:
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made us one with your saints in heaven and on earth: Grant that in our earthly pilgrimage we may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know ourselves to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whom all our intercessions are acceptable through the Spirit, and who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, page 395
Episcopal Relief & Development would like to thank Lindsay Boyer for her guidance on Lectio Divina. For more information on Lectio Divina and other forms of centering prayer, visit lindsayboyer.com.