After escaping Egypt, the Israelites found themselves lost in the wilderness trying to find their way to the Promised Land. Even though they were oppressed under Pharaoh, they missed being their bondage in Egypt where they at least had plenty to eat. They preferred overconsumption to their freedom. But the Lord gave them manna from Heaven daily – teaching them to rely on Him…to trust Him…to remain faithful to Him, as they made their way to the Promised Land.
We likewise are on a Journey to the Promised Land. Whatever our experience of the past, we all want to get somewhere “better.” We want to get to our imagined promised land. Yet the journey from where we were to where was want to be is rough at times. And we are thrown off course, remembering the few good things of our former lives: at least we had more money, more friends, more love, more… Like the Israelites, we prefer the “more” of our pasts over our freedom.
But we too must learn to rely on the Lord and trust Him to provide. We must strive to remain faithful as we make our way to that true “better place.” We must not allow our desire for more to sidetrack us from our journey to the Promised Land.
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Jah Bread was the nickname given to Fr. Jabriel S. Ballentine by a Rastafarian community. “Jah” is a shortened form of “Jehovah,” which is a latinized form of “Yahweh.” A play on the sound of his given name, Jah Bread represented the value of his words, writing and insight. What began as mispronunciation gradually developed spiritual meaning as Fr. Jabriel began sharing his writings and reasonings within the Rasta community. For them, it was as if Jah (God) had sent manna from Heaven, by which those living in the wilderness were to live – “Jah Bread.”
Now a Priest, Christian Theologian and socio-political commentator, Fr. Jah Bread follows the tradition of those Christian Giants who led America in questioning culture through the lens of faith. He offers his life, words, writing and insights in hopes that all of us might realize our God-given potential and be restored to wholeness.
Rather than fostering ego, the moniker Jah Bread serves as a reminder of God’s call and the Charge Fr. Jabriel has been given to keep. It’s not about him; it is about God’s love for His people and His desire that we all would repent and live. “I am no better than anyone else. Honestly, I’m worse than most. Yet, it is because of God’s amazing grace in spite of myself that I try to live my life as an offering to Him for the sake of others.” The name, Jah Bread, and its accompanying sentiment have remained to form a standard to which Fr. Jabriel strives to conform.