Sunday, July 31, 2011

2011.07.31 Ha-Motzi. "Who Brings Forth"

Today’s gospel reading was the story about the loaves and the fish, a strange miracle-like story in which Jesus, surrounded by a large crowd—5000 men “besides women and children” (Imagine!)—blesses God, who brings forth enough from what looks like not enough.

The blessing over grain products in Hebrew is:
BARUCH ATAH ADONAI, ELUHEINU MELECH HA-OLAM
HA-MOTZI LECHEM MIN HA-ARETZ

BLESSED ARE YOU LORD GOD CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE
YOU BRING FORTH BREAD FROM THE EARTH.

Ha-motzi means “who brings forth”— as good a definition of what God does as any.

Jesus, like all great holy men, besides many women, blesses God first BEFORE asking God to bless. Before you deliver your bill or particulars in prayer, bless God FIRST. To do so is neither an asking nor a presumption of result but a simple acknowledgment of the nature and possibility of the God HA-MOTZI. Then do your own part to assist the bringing forth.

The motzi is used in formal Temple liturgies. It is also used in homes. It’s a bridge blessing, It connects church and home. Anyone can use it. Once I went to a Jewish friend’s home for lunch. We made tuna fish sandwiches. She made ha-motzi over them and I swear that was the best tuna fish sandwich I’ve ever had.

Christians do not bring home the words of our eucharistic liturgy, the words Jesus would have said, the words he did say on the hillside, words addressed to God first.

What would happen if at our home meals, big gatherings or small, we first made our own ha-motzi?
BLESSED ARE YOU LORD GOD SOVEREIGN OF THE UNIVERSE.
YOU BRING FORTH BREAD FROM THE EARTH

And if we then added some words from our Christian Eucharist?
TAKE AND EAT THIS FOOD. IT IS GIVEN FOR YOU.
EAT THIS FOR THE REMEMBRANCE OF JESUS CHRIST.

Might this spiritual practice in time BRING FORTH humility, gratitude, re-enlivenment, hope, courage, a new chance— just as it does in church on Sunday?