L+wWkxaAT1CCV75avcU+1gAfter years of storing our home baked communion bread in the freezer of the church kitchen, we had two Sunday’s this summer where we discovered the communion bread was gone. All of it. 9 loaves, twice. Taken, I imagine, by a homeless person who wandered in to the kitchen, which is also the location of our food pantry, looking for food that did not require preparation, and stumbled upon the loaves of communion bread. The parish had to subsist on wafers those two Sundays.

Some people felt outrage, violated that someone took OUR bread. Can’t we post hours for the food pantry? Can’t we lock up the kitchen? Totally human responses to a sense of being violated, of loss.

However, I can’t help but wonder. Is it theft when a hungry person takes bread? What would Jesus think of a hungry person finding, taking, and eating the bread of life? Especially if it was located in the same room as the food pantry?  I keep thinking of the woman who came seeking food, was denied food by Jesus until she reminded him that even the dogs eat the food under the table. Of the feeding of the 5000. Of Jesus saying, whenever you feed a hungry person you feed me. Of Jesus saying to Peter, “Do you love me? Feed my sheep.” And of the consistent metaphor in the Gospel of John of Jesus, the love of God, being given to others in real food, as the bread of life.

We intentionally leave a little food in a small closet for people to take whenever they come to the church. The rest of it, most of it, is locked up. But if someone comes looking for food, my hope is, they get what they need. What better food could there have been than the lovingly made communion bread, the bread of life?

So, I don’t know what you are preaching on this week. I am facilitating our August sermon dialogue series, and maybe we’ll talk about the bread of life? Probably we will. Regardless, it’s all food for thought, which ever reading you lean into, whether from the RCL or another source.

 

Also,  we have relocated the communion bread in a less visible, more “secure” freezer, but you can bet we will be more intentional about keeping food available for the homeless, so that all who come here can be fed.

 

The Rev. Terri C. Pilarski is an Episcopal priest serving a parish in Dearborn, Michigan. She’s been a member of RevGalBlogPals since 2006 and blogs at Seeking Authentic Voice

RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

24 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher’s Party: The Wisdom (or, uhm, not??) of Kings, Prophets, and Bread

  1. A very short sermon this week love God, Love others. I am very tired after an all day workshop on abuse.
    looking forward to a week of ‘study leave’, which i think will end up more like a personal retreat with some study. i usually go to 2 retreats a year and have missed both of them this year, so looking forward to some walking and praying and reflecting and reading and colouring. To add to this week’s load i also prepared the service for next Sunday, so i don’t have to do it while on leave.
    recently i tasted Hershey’s peanut butter cups – big mistake! I have a packet if you want to help me eat them.
    10.00 pm, an early finish for me on a Saturday evening, but i am brain dead.

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  2. Good Morning – Ugg, I am not a fan of the RCL lectionary choices this week – but had to choose on Wednesday what to preach on – wisdom won and yet on Saturday I wonder if it was the ‘wise’ choice. So now I am seeking a place to start – wisdom on the street or Solomon choosing wisdom as gift – it also could be the malaise of a humid Saturday. Have watermelon or cherries to share.

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  3. We have three weeks left of the favourite hymns series…somehow this week the text I chose to go with the hymns is one I’ve never preached on outside a funeral before: revelation 21-22. So that’ll make for an interesting evening!
    I confess that at the moment I’m pondering it from a half-napping state, and I have a birthday party to go to this evening so I won’t be starting until late, unless inspiration strikes rapidly. 😉

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  4. I’m supply preaching this Sunday and next for a church I don’t know at all. It’s my first Sunday preaching gig since I finished an interim in December, 2016, so I am feeling out of my element. Amazingly, I have never preached on these texts, so I am at square one and wondering why I said yes. 😉

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  5. I am combining Back to School Sunday (bag blessings and giving bag tags away) with the full immersion baptism of one of our three teens… she has invited her family (of course) her youth group form another church, the pastor of that church (he & I are colleagues on school chaplain team) friends from different circles.
    We have never done full immersion in this church (I have only ever assisted at a river) so it is all new! And a bit scary.
    I fear some folks are going to boycott – which just breaks my heart. They’ve watched this girl grow into an amazing faithful young woman – she’s 16, and full immersion is very important for her.
    She has chosen Philippians 4 – rejoice in the Lord as her favourite passage and I’ve added in John 6 – focusing on “anyone who comes to me will never be driven away” and will also give her testimony. I have a very short sermon – because – lots of stuff.

    Praying for a warm dry morning as we are positioning the pool outside… forecast is cold & wet!
    I have cake… and cookies!

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  6. I’m thinking about bread and feeding people. In addition to three services tomorrow I will also have a Vestry meeting where we will talk about our food pantry. I am rereading Sara Miles’ “Take This Bread” to remind myself of the vision I have as a priest and for congregations and for food pantries for feeding people. It is really, the primary thing Jesus asks us to do, graciously and generously, for in doing so we feed Jesus.

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  7. All I have is whine and it is too soon for wine. Here are some pieces I’m stitching together:
    I didn’t stay quite long enough in Hawaii to avoid the bread and circuses season of preaching that has “bread of life” texts padding our lectionary with metaphysical carbohydrates through the end of the summer…This text invokes the spectre of cannibalism, vampirism, and zombie-ism which explain the responses of those around Jesus at the time…I want to offer a way to think about what it means to consume the body and blood of Christ that isn’t cannabalistic, vampiric, or zombie-geist, pregnancy. In our mother’s womb we share our mother’s body and blood and are nourished by it… Cue Julian of Norwich, Christ our Mother.

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  8. I’m back. It’s nearly 11 and I still don’t have much more than a very vague sense…more vague than I’ve been in a while, really. Hoping for a way-in to come to me ASAP because then hopefully I could just start writing and figure it out as I go!

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  9. I couldn’t face another helping of bread so am preaching on Solomon and his mixed legacy. My question for my Canadian congregation is how do we remember the towering figures from our history? Across the country we are taking down statues and renaming bridges of people we previously honoured because they were flawed, and committed acts we now consider heinous.
    The Eastern Orthodox Church remembers Solomon as a saint, the Quran states he was a prophet, and this week’s lectionary passage reminds us of Solomon’s wisdom, conveniently leaving out 36 verses detailing his brutal acts of murder. What is the proper way to remember, and to spark reflection on those who’s legacies have shaped us?
    I haven’t figured out the answer to the question yet….

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  10. I’m checking in WAY later than I would like, having spent yesterday and today traveling and participating in a workshop. In order to avoid the weeks of bread in the RCL, I’m going back to a week I didn’t use because of a prayer series in July and picking up Mark 6:1-13, focusing on the last part of that, Jesus sending out the twelve. I’m not sure where I’m going, and my vague hope that the workshop would provide sermon fodder was not fulfilled.

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