Bread Again?

Grace and Peace to you

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Remind us that this bread and wine are gifts from you

Transforming us within those places

that we cannot physically reach

But only through your Word and through Your Son, Jesus Christ

We are healed, to heal others

In this life

Amen.

(pause)

 

Bread again?

It’s not just the title of my sermon but

Bread again?

Something so simple

It immerses us into this mystery

Where we are bonded to the Creator

Who always showers us with expressions of love and care

Through gifts offered up by Creation itself

(pause)

Bread again?

Bread is a staple

A precious commodity

(that we find it in farmer’s markets sold by nuns and religious orders  and the Amish usually next to the cheese vendor which even prompts us to buy more bread; that it is so common but more often than not is pushed into an artisanal spotlight beyond the old boring white and wheat variety of our youth, when making a PBJ brought a song to our hearts; that we now argue about which brand is healthier for us to consume and that it won’t put any more additional weight/carbs to our diet but how nothing smells better than freshly baked bread and share how I drive my husband crazy because I am the one in grocery stores seeing if the bread has been recently baked and if it’s still warm. That I probably have driven the worship folks nuts this morning because I brought in bread again, surprise!)

(pause)

So unpretentious and yet so scarce

That the sight of bread brings comfort

To those who are starving

For just more than food

I’d like to share a story

That one of my colleagues has shared

On this entire subject of bread

That unfolded during WWII

(pause)

During the bombing raids of WWII, thousands of children were orphaned and left to starve. The fortunate ones were rescued and placed in refugee camps where they received food and good care.

But many of these children who had lost so much could not sleep at night. They feared waking up to find themselves once again homeless and without food. Nothing seemed to reassure them.

Finally, someone hit upon the idea of giving each child a piece of bread to hold at bedtime. Holding their bread, these children could finally sleep in peace.

All through the night the bread reminded them, “Today I ate and I will eat again tomorrow.”

(pause)

None of us can look at bread the same way again, right?

(pause)

Bread, again?

Our Gospel text these past couple of weeks

Focuses Jesus Himself,

Feeding Himself

giving of Himself to thousands of people

Feeding 5,000 people;

Feeding those who heard His Voice,

Who questioned who He was,

Whose faith maybe perhaps in those early days not even formed

Who struggled to believed

Who recoiled at eating flesh-

I’ve had friends of mine joke that Christians are nothing more

Than sacred zombies

But consuming the wrong things into oneself,

Throws our very being into turmoil

And we find ourselves nothing more

than hollowed out and rotten

(pause)

Jesus sounds like a broken record

But we as children of God

Constantly have to be reminded

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven.

 Whoever eats of this bread will live forever;

and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

(pause)

So when it comes to sharing the bread and wine,

the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

What does this Eucharist mean for us as people of faith?

Is it something that we have to remind ourselves we have to take

Just like our medications and our vitamins

Otherwise something horrible will happen

Or we will be inconvenienced?

We receive the bread into our hands and consume it

Sometimes complaining about the taste, right?

(pause)

Are we drawn to the Table because we are broken

That we are starving for the grace and mercy

That only comes from God?

Do we receive the bread and wine

the body and blood of Jesus Christ

And then return to our seats

Thinking “Okay I am covered for another week”

“I can check that off of my to do list for today”

And then go out into the wider world

And see those who are ravenous

Those who are sometimes beyond help

Those who are struggling to crawl out of the ditches

Those who are misunderstood

And pass them by?

(pause)

What does the Eucharist mean to us then, anyway?

Luther states in the Large Catechism

“Therefore it is given for a daily pasture and sustenance,

that faith may refresh and strengthen itself

so as not to fall back in such a battle,

but become ever stronger and stronger.”

(pause)

Stronger and stronger for what purpose?

What was their focus as they heard Jesus’s words

In our Gospel text this morning?

“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life

 and I will raise them up on the last day”

Is our focus hearing these words

Me. I must survive

Because this world already deprives us of the essentials for living

We are frantic in that we need to be ready, filled up

So that we can staved off the evil that seems to overcome us

In this world

(pause)

But what about seeing the Eucharist

for transforming who we are

as people of faith?

Wouldn’t you want to consume something

That restores ourselves

Our energy,

But also renews our lives

That has the power to alter those deep recesses

Within who we are

that prevents us from going out,

speaking out,

living out the Call

that the Creator God has planted within every one of us

Would you see the Bread differently if it called you to

“Depart from evil, and do good;

    seek peace, and pursue it.”

(pause)

When we come to this Table-

What are we expecting?

What are we hoping?

What are we longing for?

Do we come one by one?

Or do we come surrounding this Table

Knowing that we come as a beloved community of Faith

Sharing together this sacred moment

Of Forgiveness and transformation?

“Just as the living Father sent me,

and I live because of the Father,

so whoever eats me will live because of me”

DO WE UNDERSTAND that this GIFT is NEVER for us

 As human beings

To DENY ANYONE?

I may sound like a broken record but this is the

Bread and Wine

The Body and Blood

Of JESUS CHRIST

The Forgiveness of our SINS

And the Restoration of our LIVES

Because GOD LOVES US?

Isn’t that the Good News, beloved?

(pause)

What does this Meal Hold for you?

(ask the congregation to share briefly about what Eucharist means for them, and then close by saying, Thanks Be to God).

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