Restoring Community Through Hospitality and Feeding

Written by Pastor Mark

Theme Background

Eating and drinking are two words that describe most of Jesus’ ministry on earth.  Of course there is the odd miracle thrown in here and there.  The miracles are minor in the Gospel of Mark (the one written first) and much more prevalent in the Gospel of John (the last Gospel written).   Jesus eats and drinks so much with his disciples that others sometimes describe them as “drunkards and gluttons”. 

In the first lesson today the Israelites are given the gift of food.  Manna, if you remember Rabbi Courtney’s teachings, means “What is it?”  This gift of food from God is a great object lesson.  You are to gather only as much as you can eat in one day.  Take more and it will turn rotten and stink.  The obvious lesson is that hording stinks!  In the Lord’s Prayer we ask God to “Give us this day our daily bread”.  This is a continuous process.  It reminds us that we are dependent on God’s grace each day to receive the food we need to eat.

Our Gospel lesson takes place right after the feeding of the five thousand.  There is more to life than just eating Jesus reminds them.  Jesus is the bread of life.  He is the nourishment that satisfies our souls.  Jesus went on to make a meal the center of the Christian faith.  We gather every Sunday around a meal where Jesus commanded us to remember him.   In our church we have taken this idea a step further.  We want everyone who comes here to “eat”.  Everyone has to do it.  When we eat a meal together we build relationships with one another.  You are much more likely to “share” when you are eating than at any other activity.  We want to feed the hunger of our community for both food and companionship.  If people are going to eat, someone has to “serve” up that food and someone has to clean up. 

Today we celebrate those who cook, serve, and feed us.  We are so thankful for those who work at the Saturday Morning Breakfast and especially the head cooks, David and Delia Hammond, and Lyle Pehan.  We are thankful for those who serve us coffee before and after worship, for those who provide snacks to feed us.  We are also thankful for those who bring food to the church each week to feed people who are coming to AA, NA and other activities.  These people are taking a big step towards finding sanity and healing in life.  It is so beautiful that their first impression of our church might be a beautiful plate of still warm, home-made scones from the kitchen of Laura Hampton.  We also celebrate the people in our lives who cook for us and feed us every day.  The next time you eat a meal, make sure to thank the person who cooked it for you and those who served it.  You might also thank God for all of the bounty of food we enjoy in this place.

Quotes for the Week

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

                                                                                                Mother Theresa

 

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”                                                           Maya Angelou

 

Do you know what you call those who use towels and never wash them, eat meals and never do the dishes, sit in rooms they never clean, and are entertained till they drop? If you have just answered, “A house guest,” you’re wrong because I have just described my kids.

                                                                                                Erma Bombeck

 

“I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead. Not sick. Not wounded. Dead.”

                                                                                                Woody Allen

1st Lesson Exodus 16:2-4 & 9-15  (NRSV)

2 The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” 4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not.

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the LORD, for he has heard your complaining.'” 10 And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. 11 The LORD spoke to Moses and said, 12 “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.'” 13 In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.

 

Gospel Lesson John 6: 24-35 (The Message)

25When they found Jesus back across the sea, they said, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

 26Jesus answered, “You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs—and for free.

 27“Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.”

 28To that they said, “Well, what do we do then to get in on God’s works?”

 29Jesus said, “Throw your lot in with the One that God has sent. That kind of a commitment gets you in on God’s works.”

 30-31They waffled: “Why don’t you give us a clue about who you are, just a hint of what’s going on? When we see what’s up, we’ll commit ourselves. Show us what you can do. Moses fed our ancestors with bread in the desert. It says so in the Scriptures: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'”

 32-33Jesus responded, “The real significance of that Scripture is not that Moses gave you bread from heaven but that my Father is right now offering you bread from heaven, the real bread. The Bread of God came down out of heaven and is giving life to the world.”

 34They jumped at that: “Master, give us this bread, now and forever!”

 35-38Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever.

Questions for the Week

What is your favorite meal?

What traditions did, or does, your family have around a shared meal?

What do you do to share hospitality with other people?

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