What are your favorite thanksgiving foods?
(Listen for responses.)
Today many of us will gather
with friends, loved ones,
to celebrate the bounty of the earth
at tables groaning with meats,
In the midst of our feasting
we hear these words of Jesus:
Do not work for the food that perishes,
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me will not be hungry.
Jesus wants to give himself to us
the Bread of Life.
God is the One who gives us Spiritual food
Jesus is the Bread of life itself.
He beckons us into the kitchen with him,
looking more than a little like Rosa and Karen
and other members
of the Brother Lawrence Guild
here at St Matthew's.
I love this image
because bread-making is a lot
like the Way of Jesus in our daily lives.
It's a little bit Mysterious.
Exactly how does that little package of dry yeast
added to the floury dough
make a lifeless lump of flour and water come alive?
I don't know how.
Maybe you science majors could tell us
It's a hidden process- with wonderful results
as the dough grows and grows and grows.
There's no easy and exact formula for true spirituality
The Way of Jesus is more like
an informal recipe
shared in the kitchen.
Faith will look, act and feel
different in each of our lives,
as God reveals Godself
through our differing personalities and gifts.
And, as Martha Stewart says,
that's a good thing.
God takes a pinch of hospitality
and a dash of contemplation
and adds a cup full of working justice
and throws in a handful of sharing in the community,
God provides us a place to work together,
And the raw materials,
the result is more than the sum of its parts.
It also takes time.
The Spiritual life,
like breadmaking itself,
is not for the impatient.
Eric and Matthew's great grandmother
on their mom's side-
had a recipe for homemade bread
that took six hours to complete.
Her neatly type written recipe card
called for letting the dough rise
and kneading it
again and again and again.
True spirituality isn't to be had in a day or a week, or a month.
Following the Way of Jesus
is a process,
with God as the yeast,
enabling us to grow.
This growth also demands repeated and constant attention from us.
But again, like Bread making,
the results are oh so worth it.
To break open a crusty warm loaf
of bread and eat it-
is one of the best feelings in life.
Bread is Life giving.
But what does it mean to work for the food that endures
in a community of abundance
while so many among us still go hungry?
It's not just about spiritual hunger.
It's also about three square meals a day.
The incidence of food uncertainty,
not knowing where your next meal will come from,
has doubled in Minnesota over the past five years.
One in 10 Minnesotans misses 10 meals per month,
forced to make choices between food and other necessities
such as housing, utilities and health care.
Children account for 40 percent of Minnesota's hungry.
Being the bread of life
not only involves eating it ourselves
but also sharing our resources
concretely with those who have less than we do,
while also receiving what only they can give us.
Others among us may have all the physical food we need.
Our hunger is a different kind.
Instead of food uncertainty
some of us might be suffering from relationship uncertainty.
Our need is for a community of support
and love and service
where we we can get our emotional needs met,
and help others also.
In our time
starving for human interaction
are the new famine among us.
Whether or not our own families and friends are close by,
especially on this family holiday,
we all know someone who needs us.
This is where we can become part of something much larger than ourselves\
And our own families.
that empty stomachs
AND empty hearts are both bad things.
He calls us to the kitchen
not just to eat the bread of life,
but to BE and BECOME
that bread of life for others.
But how do we get there?
How do we share in this bread of life?
the pathway to receiving and becoming living Bread
is to believe.
God has already reached out in relationship to us,
and continues each day to do so,
as we pray,
give us this day our daily bread.
The Greek root word used in the Gospels and elsewhere in the Christian Scriptures
most often translated "to believe"
but it's not simply intellectual acceptance
of some mental precept.
It's a living confidence,
a trust IN and relationship WITH the divine Baker.
I hate to be the one to have to say this
but Jesus didn't invent the word faith
and neither did the Apostle Paul or Martin Luther.
For centuries before Christ was born
this Christian buzz- word
was an ancient Roman virtue,
inscribed on the arches of ancient temples
and in the very social structures of Roman society.
It signified Faithfulness,
one of the four cardinal virtues.
It was pledged at the warm family hearth,
among parents and children,
between life partners,
and in the stony public square.
it was the willingness to continue in relationship,
to eat together,
and to work with each other,
no matter what.
The work of God,
begins with each of us saying
to God AND to each other,
I believe in you.
I trust in you.
Jesus says today-
This is the true bread that keeps us going.
It's ingrained in our deep structures
in the best times of our lives
this trust flows
as the process of yeast growing
in a lump of dough,
as a fresh hot loaf of bread disappears
from the table
when its surrounded by hungry children.
In a few moments we will take the bread of life
and the cup of salvation
into our own two hands.
As we celebrate
this Thanksgiving Day
let us pause in the midst of our cooking,
as we approach this holy altar
in this place made holy
by our presence AND God's
to say again to God
and to renew our pledge to each other,
I believe in you.
I trust in you.
Listen to this well loved poem
from Alla Renee Bozarth.
It's called Bakerwoman God
I am your living bread.
Strong, brown Bakerwoman God,
I am your low, soft, and being-shaped loaf.
I am your rising bread,
well-kneaded by some divine
and knotty pair of knuckles,
by your warm earth hands.
I am bread well-kneaded.
Put me in fire,
put me in your own bright fire.
I am warm,
warm as you from fire.
I am white and gold,
soft and hard,
brown and round.
I am so warm from fire.
I am broken under your caring Word.
Drop me in your special juice in pieces.
Drop me in your blood.
Drunken me in the great red flood.
Self-giving chalice swallow me.
My skin shines in the divine wine.
My face is cup-covered and I drown.
I fall up
in a red pool
in a gold world
where your warm
is there to catch
and hold me.
Womanpriest: A Personal Odyssey, Paulist Press 1978, Luramedia/Wisdom House 1988.
Moving to the Edge of the World, iUniverse 2000.
This is My Body~ Praying for Earth, Prayers from the Heart, iUniverse 2004.