Support the Café

Search our Site

Speaking to the Soul: From the Belly

Speaking to the Soul: From the Belly

Easter Week, Year One

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]


Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 93, 98 (morning) // 66 (evening)

Jonah 2:1-9

Acts 2:14, 23-32

John 14:1-14

A friend of mine offered a prayer on Easter morning that came from great depths, just like Jonah’s prayer in today’s first reading. The passage tells us that Jonah “prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish.” For Jonah, “the belly of the fish” means more than just the whale that swallowed him. From within the fish’s belly, Jonah also prayed “out of my distress,” “out of the belly of Sheol,” out of “the deep . . . the heart of the seas . . . the flood.” Covered in waters, wrapped in weeds, behind bars, deep in “the Pit,” Jonah struggles to pray.

My friend’s prayer came from a similar place: grief over the deaths of his parents; rejection by friends, family, and even his state government for an aspect of his identity; apathy after fighting a social justice battle; depression that drowns the zeal and joy he once felt. Can a resurrection faith breathe life and hope into such places?

A resurrection faith is not a simple fix. But simply offering a prayer straight from the belly of whatever fish we’re in is itself an enormous act of faith. Jonah proclaims, “As my life was ebbing away . . . my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.” Jonah believed that the prayer he offered from the fish’s belly could find its way to the temple of the Lord.

This Easter, we can try to pray from the belly. We can dredge up prayers from whatever distress, grief, apathy, and pain we find ourselves in. We can call out to God from the watery depths, from the weeds, from the bowels of a whale. The risen Christ may seem very far from the Pit, but he’s not. He’s right there with us.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps  program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café