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Bread? Again?

Bread? Again?

Three weeks of “bread” gospels makes one wonder what to preach on tomorrow. Karyn Wiseman has some thoughts at Huffington Post:

Sometimes when I read a biblical text, it makes almost perfect sense to me. Other times, the author’s intent seems fairly obvious so I get a good feeling about what I am reading.

When I read the lectionary passage from the Gospel of John for this week, I scratched my head. This week’s text is the third of the “bread passages” in our lectionary cycle. There is a lot of bread this summer. And it’s about now that many preachers and congregants start asking, “Bread, again?”

Is what Jesus offers such a fantastic feast that we go away feeling like we never need to eat again? Is it such an astonishing spiritual feast that we are fed by that gift continually from that time on? Is it a recurring need to reconnect to Christ to feel fed again and again? Or does that need vanish? What does this feel like?

What does it mean to feast on Jesus? Or to feast on the word — to take in the words of faith and to make them part of one’s daily life and nourishment? What does it look like to be transformed by the Word of the Lord?

These are the questions that pop into my mind as I think about this week’s text. And then I think about my Granddad.

….

I am reminded of the times I have been at the table of Holy Communion receiving the bread and cup and was moved in such astonishing ways. One Sunday I was serving communion to my son, who was about 4 at the time. I offered him the bread, saying, “This is the bread of life,” and he looked up at me and said, “I want a BIG piece of Jesus.” He knew this was a feast. He was asking for what all of us have a hard time finding the words to request — more. More God, spiritual nourishment, connections to the Holy, hope, abundance, being part of the Body of Christ, bread that keeps us from hungering and belief that keeps us from thirsting.

When we go away hungry, according to my grandpa, it’s our own fault. So what stops us?

Sometimes circumstances try to block us from receiving and we have to do everything we can to overcome those obstacles to get to the gift. Sometimes it is the feeling that we are not worthy. This is a common misconception. Many mistakenly believe that they are too flawed to receive the bread of life and the cup of hope.

Well, my Granddad and my son taught me something powerful about that. The feast is there, I’m invited, and I am worthy to receive the abundance of God’s love and grace. We all are invited. We all are worthy.

We have to open ourselves to receive the gift. We have to make the effort to come to the table. We have to believe in the power of the meal, the cup and the Word. We have to believe we are worthy of the feast.

I have finally learned that I am worthy.

And so are you, my friends. So are you.

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Bill Dilworth

I wonder what Wiseman preached on today (which had yet another bread passage as the Gospel)? 😉

Penelopepiscopal

Bill, I agree that it’s not a minor matter. I also agree that Eucharistic Prayer B does not contradict the Prayer of Humble Access.

I see this as more like the OT in which there are different themes woven throughout. (David’s house is established forever/David’s house is only established IF he follows God’s statutes; God will punish to the nth generation/God will not punish the sons for the sins of the father; etc.)

And more to the point, it’s akin as well to the theological conversation about the sin of pride as articulated by Niebuhr and the feminist critique of that position suggesting that for many (especially women) there is instead the sin of loss/lack of pride (self).

No, we are not worthy. But we have been made worthy. As Anglicans, we hold those in tension. They are both true.

Maplewood

Perhaps it is “Bread? Again?” because we need to eat every day?

Our walk with God is not so much done as a grand life-long quest but a simple daily walk, day to day, even meal to meal. We walk, we get hungry, we stop and eat, we get up and continue to walk.

To my mind, it’s more than a bit like our personal journey to Emmaus – walking together, pondering over the events of our daily life, breaking bread and seeing Jesus at the table.

Often, things aren’t complicated. They are simple.

Kevin McGrane

Karen Griffith

@Torey

When it comes to Celiac Disease, I would hope people read the passages the same as you. I know that when bread is involved, I usually just have to bring my own, and this is ok. After all, God did make me this way and He also blessed me with an awesome sense of humor and He gave us gluten free bread. I tend to think of most mentions of bread in the Bible and sermons and such in an abstract or figurative sense anyway, but when real physical bread is involved, I just have my own special bread. It’s basically a non-issue, as far as I am concerned.

Bill Dilworth

Well, Torey, I don’t think I was trying to do anything quite as grand as “promoting a vision of grace.” (I’m not even sure exactly what that means, come to think of it.) But if I somehow conveyed the idea that we’re simultaneously messed up and infinitely loved, then I succeeded. Anyway…

Penny, that passage from Eucharistic Prayer B isn’t exactly a contradiction of the Prayer of Humble Access. Since both the Rite I and Rite II forms of the Eucharist are the official liturgy of the Episcopal Church, it would be hard pressed to contradict it, anyway.

I don’t think that it’s a minor matter, this question of worthiness. I think it’s a living out of one of the very few statements by the Rev Matthew Fox with which I agree: that there are two Christianities present in the Church today.

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