08-25-19 SABBATH: MORE THAN REST

SABBATH: MORE THAN REST Exodus 20:8-11 Deuteronomy 5:12-15 and 15:1-15
Westminster by the Sea Presbyterian Church Radford Rader, D.Min. August 25, 2019

Did you notice a difference between the Exodus Sabbath Commandment and the Deuteronomic one?
Exodus focuses on our Creator God who rested on the seventh day. Sabbath is commanded rest for all based on the divine pattern. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work and on the Seventh day, you shall rest.
Deuteronomy’s Sabbath commandment is based on remembering Israel’s slavery in Egypt and God’s bringing them out into freedom and into promised land. Sabbath is more than rest; it is a freedom practice. It is the practice of freedom because slaves were not their own person.
Still they have much in common.
Sabbath is a gift from God as Jesus said, “The sabbath is made for mortals.” It is to declare, realize and practice our freedom from the tyranny and oppression of work – which runs rampant today. Sabbath declares that God is Lord and God’s provision continues so we can take time off. If we stop for the day, we live in the belief that the world will not fall apart, that God is in charge and that God is the ultimate provider. Walter Brueggemann shows this by linking the Sabbath rest to the phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.” He declares that this refers to the manna gathered everyday by the Israelites in the wilderness. It should also remind us that they did not gather on the Sabbath. God provided a double portion on the sixth day. Sabbath is always a trust exercise and a freedom practice. We show that, “in God, we trust.” We declare our freedom. Every time we pray, “Give us today our daily bread”, we affirm these things and every day we rest in the Lord we practice what we pray.
In both the Exodus and Deuteronomic commandments Sabbath is shown to be for everyone—not just for the landowner or the employer but for family members, resident aliens and slaves as well as animals–all the creatures which God has made not just the rich but also the poor, not just the master but also the slave, not just the Jew but also the neighbor and the stranger. Sabbath is more than rest; it is to be freeing to us and those who serve us. Chick-fil-a continues that practice as it dares to be closed on Sundays for the sake of its employees.
Sabbath is more than a one day a week event in Deuteronomy. There was the sabbath of seven days, and the sabbath of seven years (the sabbatical year), and the celebration of seven sabbatical years called Jubilee. The sabbatical year and the Jubilee both involved concern for the poor and freedom from slavery. In the sabbatical year, the land rested. They did not sow or reap but whatever came up volunteer was to be left for the poor and needy. Even more so, the sabbatical year freed people from debt slavery. Debt happened and it often meant land had to be sold or heads of households and/or family members were sold into slavery. Sabbath was remembering God’s granting freedom from slavery. The sabbatical year placed limits on debt to keep people out of slavery. In the seventh year, all debts were to be cancelled. If someone indentured themselves in payment of debt, they were released in the sabbatical year. If a Hebrew bought a Hebrew slave, the person was to be freed. God’s people were not to be hard of heart toward their neighbors as Pharaoh was toward the Israelite slaves. “Open hands and hearts” was the commandment, even when someone asked for a loan in the 7th year which meant it was cancelled at the end of that very year. If you freed a slave, you were not to send that person out emptied handed but gave from your flocks and field the means to prosper. The Jubilee year was even more radical; all ancestral land was to be returned to the descendants of the family to whom it was originally granted upon entrance into the Promised Land. All these commandments had one purpose – that neighbors would not be crippled by debt or enslaved without hope. “The poor will never cease out of the land”, Moses says “therefore I command you. You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and the poor in the land.” (15:11). The purpose was to have no poor in the land. God had been generous to ex-slaves and God’s intent is that all should thrive.
Reality is that debt still debilitates and enslaves. Poor people and people helplessly in debt in this world still sell themselves or their children into slavery. Some have no Sabbath time; they work multiple jobs to make ends meet but still slide deeper and deeper into debt. Debt comes from recession and depression, from financial loss and business failure, from family crisis, from foolish over-spending, gambling and addictions. The largest cause of bankruptcy in America is medical debt. The average student loan debt is $38,390.00. For many Americans debt reaches the level that complicates and destroys their lives. Debt can become such a burden that life is compromised, the future disappears, families are ruined, and happiness destroyed.

To be honest, I need to tell you that scholars debate whether the commandments of the sabbatical year and Jubilee were ever practiced. Many Christians have in the past and still today state, “The poor you will always have with you” and throw up their hands but they are corrupting how Deuteronomy 15:11 reads or Jesus uses the text. But Deuteronomy’s commandments do show the divine will for society and they have had effect.
In the New Testament, Paul sought an offering for the destitute Christians in Jerusalem. His words to the churches seek a generosity, with the pattern being Jesus “who was rich but for your sake became poor, so that by his poverty you may be rich.” He continues in II Corinthians 8, “I do not mean that others should be eased, and you burdened; but that as a matter of equality, your abundance at the present time should supply their want. So that their abundance may supply your want, that there may be equality. As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing and he who gathered little had no lack.”
In the early settlement in America, the poor often indentured themselves as servants to pay for their passage to this Promised Land. The term of indenture was 7 years.
In January of 1865, Union General W.T. Sherman and Secretary of War, Wm. Stanton, met with 20 black ministers in Savannah, Ga. asking what could best be done for the freed slaves. The response was land. Four days later Sherman executed Special Field Order #15 that made available 400,000 acres of land from Savannah to the St. John’s river from the Ocean 30 miles inland be divided into 40-acre parcels each with water access for those who had been freed from slavery. He later ordered that Army mules were to be loaned to these new landowners; thus, the saying “40 Acres and a mule. Unfortunately, the order was revoked 8 months later by President Andrew Johnson; but sabbatical intent was there. One part of his order did have some success in the establishment of self-governing black communities one of which was Etonville, Florida.
And it continues today:
Social security, Medicare and Medicaid were created to protect our citizens.
Bankruptcy laws offer resolution for those in overwhelming debt.
Habitat for Humanity is still hard at work building houses with sweat equity and no interest loans.

Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet created the Giving Pledge which invites billionaires to sign a pledge and give away to charitable causes more than half of their wealth now or in their wills. 40 individuals and couples have signed on with them and supported poverty alleviation, refuge aid, global health, education, women and girls’ empowerment, and environment sustainability to name a few.
This week President Trump authorized the forgiveness of all student loan debt for disabled veterans. Earlier this summer, Robert Smith announced in his commencement address at Moorhouse College that he and his family had granted the money to pay off each graduate’s student loans. He encouraged them “to pay it forward and take care of their own communities and to show it thorough actions, words and deeds.:”
The cost of medical care and prescription drugs and student loan debt are in the forefront of campaign rhetoric. Whether this goes any further than Sherman’s Field Order is yet to be seen.
If I had the grand solution to poverty and debt’s part in that, I should run for president.
I don’t but I do know that God has great concern for the poor and debt-ridden. The goal of God’s kingdom is to have no poor among us (Deut. 15:4).
I do know that scripture calls God’s people to give generously of their wealth. If all, Christians tithed, churches could accomplish much more in alleviating poverty and debt relief, helping members and reaching out into the community.
I also know thanks to Walter Brueggemann that whenever we say the Lord’s Prayer, we are committing ourselves to such endeavors. Not only do we pray “Give us today our daily bread” which connects our daily bread to manna and sabbath but also, we pray, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” which is straight out of Deuteronomy 15 and the sabbatical year. Both of our petitions follow “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done” so they are not only petitions for ourselves but promises that we will help God’s kingdom come on this earth in our time.
I want to issue you a challenge today. It isn’t much but it is a small step to addressing poverty, debt and hunger. It is something we all can do. Next Sunday, when I challenge you to bring canned goods and staples and put them on the tables in the narthex and hopefully we will overload the Port Orange Panty with our genorisity.

08-18-19 The Big Mistake of “I Did This!”

The Big Mistake of “I Did This!” Deuteronomy 8: 11-18 August 18, 2019
Westminster by the Sea Presbyterian Church Radford Rader, D.Min.

This is how Rebecca and I began our life together in 1968. We had my old, used and not so cool 1961 Rambler that dad and I had to rebuild when the engine had blown. We lived in a one-bedroom apartment near the university, an area that became surrounded by the fires started after the assassination of Martin Luther King just weeks after our moving in. There were no rugs on the floors. Our furnishings were sparse: something to sit on in the living room (I don’t remember what), plastic tv trays for end tables, a very small black and white television that sat on the toybox Rebecca’s father had made here when she was a toddler, and my desk which had been my uncle’s when he was a child. In the bedroom were our childhood dressers, her mattresses on a steel frame, and a clock radio. The kitchen had a Formica table and chairs one of the few things we purchased along with hand me down cooking utensils and a few sensible, usable wedding gifts. We’ve come a long way, baby!

Moses’ sermon in Deuteronomy starts in such a place. Remember Egypt where you were slaves. Remember the plagues and how God set you free. Remember those decades in the wilderness where life was hard and tenuous, but God fed you with manna and protected you, guiding you in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Remember how God helped you defeat the kings and nations on whose land you now stand, lands already given to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh. Most of all remember God’s commandments – that began with “I am the Lord your God; you shall have no other gods before me.” While the Israelites are anxiously hopping from one foot to the other as they stand on the banks of the Jordon with the Promised Land in full view, Moses calls Israel to remember the God who is behind all their blessings and warned that they forget this at their peril.

It is hard to remember and stay faithful in a promising land, in a land flowing in milk and honey, rich in resources and made for greatness. Nations and individuals achieve, succeed and prosper. With success and prosperity comes a natural pride in accomplishments but there is the temptation to believe we are self-made. Forgotten are all those who assisted in our success whether they be ancestors, family, mentors, colleagues or employees. It may be our hard work but not ours alone. Forgotten also are the life, health, intelligence and gifts with which we were endowed by our Creator. Forgotten is the good fortune, luck or DIVINE ASSISTANCE when everything could have imploded. Mark Twain observed “A self-made man is like a self-laid egg.”

There is nothing inherently wrong in success and prosperity; they are blessings, even more so if we continuously acknowledge them as blessings. There is something terribly wrong when nations and individuals believe it is all our doing! There is something terribly wrong when in our heart, even if it never passes our lips, is the belief that “My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth!” There is something terribly wrong when as Moses says, “Your heart is lifted up”. I believe he means the pride that puffs up, a pride that becomes haughty, when we begin to believe we are worthy of all we have and inviolate in our power and possessions, when nations and individuals no longer think beyond themselves, when we say, “I no longer care about you! I don’t need you.” (Pointing at the people)— “I no longer care about You! I don’t need you!” (Pointing to heaven). We are extremely susceptible to hubris – a pride that exalts itself and believe in its own truth and creates right from its own point of view. It takes and eats the forbidden fruit grasping at equality with God. (Genesis 2-3) As King it takes another man’s wife and has him killed because he thought it his right. (II Samuel 11-12). It becomes Israel where the powerful and wealthy “sell the righteous for silver and the needy for a pair of shoes. (Amos 2:6-8). It is prayer pretending to address God but only exalting ourselves. (First Reading: Luke 18:9-14)

There is a famous verse in Proverbs 16:8 that reads “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Moses, like the prophets who followed him, warned the Israelite nation and the later nations and people who hear his words, “If you choose this path, you shall surely perish” (Deuteronomy 8:19-20). Jesus in the gospel and the writers of the New Testament are always declaring “those who humble themselves will be exalted and those who exalt themselves shall be humbled.” (Luke 14:11; 18:14; James 4:10; I Peter 5:6)

We are to live humbly. Humility doesn’t mean weak; being humble doesn’t make us a pushover. It doesn’t mean no success or recognition from others. The humble just don’t let it go to their heads. The humble are grateful not greedy…about being a blessing because they know themselves blessed. Humility is not thinking too highly of oneself – the model is Jesus not thinking equality with God a thing to be grasped. The humble remember that we are creatures and did not make ourselves, nor this earth – We belong to God as does the earth we are to cherish as God does. The humble keep a right relationship with God, which is the first commandment…I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt. You shall have no other god…not self, not possessions, not power, not nation. To be humble is foremost to be humble with God., which simply means I defer to my Maker…I live for God not for myself…I live to give God glory not to glorify myself. I live like Jesus, humble and lowly of heart (not with heart puffed up), faithful to the Father’s will not my own, compassionate toward others not arrogant or rude.

Carl Jung, the great Christian psychologist, wrote “Through pride, we are self-deceiving but deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still small voice says to us, something is out of tune.” That happened to me several times in my ministry. The church was growing and flourishing. I was praised and loved. But I would lose myself in myself and think I was the reason and the means for all of it. As I lost my way, the church began to flounder. My answer was to double down, expect too much and demand too much. Eventually, it was necessary for me to step back and admit the truth: “This is not my church but God’s church. This is not the work of my hands but the work of the Spirit through whom the church will ultimately grow and prosper.” Eventually I would come to my senses and accept that I was to humbly serve. I had to step back, let God be my God. The Bible points out that I am not the only one who becomes self-sufficient and prideful. It is a rampant virus among us. Perhaps this is where you are today, needing to cease acting like Lord and Master and become again a humble servant where God is first and foremost in all that you do.

08-11-19 HOW TO WAIT FOR JESUS

Luke 12: 32-40

The season has started again; not just the back to school season, but also Hurricane Season; the time when weathercasters alert us to low pressure systems forming in the Caribbean. As they do, viewers have the luxury of watching the progress, and the track, or the forming storm. Like reading a great mystery novel, the story unfolds each day: will it come toward Florida; to Central Florida; or the East Coast; or specifically, to Daytona Beach? If so, what supplies do we have? What supplies do we need? Even with fair warning about hurricane season, I still join others in line to buy water before a storm. Batteries, flashlights: those things I have. But the water I wait to buy. I go through my hurricane checklist of garbage bags, zip locks, and duct tape. I collect rags or towels in case we find leaks. So seasonally, I have a reminder from weathercasters to prepare for hurricane season. If it were a religion, hurricane season would be the annual revival, when we are urged to check the things we “ought to have done, and take care of the things that still need to be done.” Hurricane season is a good practice.

Tuesday I was driving back from seeing my brother who is trying to recover from a brain bleed. While I was in Virginia, my sisters and I had a conference call about the huge adjustment facing us: moving my mother from Independent Living in St. Louis, (where she no longer qualifies to live due to her increased confusion) to a memory care facility near my sister in Phoenix. Just since April when I visited her, she has slipped that much. All of these issues were going through my head as I was driving south on I-95, mesmerized by constant billboards. Then, one billboard stood out: “Are You Preparing to Meet Jesus?” A phone number was listed below, I suppose, so you could call and get more information! I wouldn’t recommend calling the number, however, because the billboard next to it said: “Are you headed for heaven?” and there were pictures of clouds; “or are you headed for hell?” and there were flames of fire. Today, I want us to think about meeting Jesus. As I explained to the boys and girls, if I were preparing to meet Jesus as a child, my list of what to gather would be different. A blanket for comfort and even for security; Linus from the Peanuts comic strip taught us that. Then I would take a small pillow that reminds me that I’m loved. I’d take a Bible and a paperback songbook of old hymns, and a cellphone and charger. But as adults, what we need to do to prepare for Jesus’ return is different, especially if we see him at our death first, instead of at his return to earth. Here is what Jesus himself said: “Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” [Luke 12: 32] If we share our hopes and fears with God, then God will know the ways that things can comfort us. My grandparents, when they were alive, asked me, along with my brothers and sisters, what things of theirs we would enjoy having after they were gone. We said “Don’t talk like that!” but my grandmother said, “No, it would really comfort us to know what you would like.” So we named the items. “Here’s some tape.” She said. “Put your name on it and stick it on the bottom of the pieces you want.” And so we did. Every time I walk by a bookcase and a desk in our home, I think of my grandparents and their gifts when they were alive, still blessing me after their death. As I walked through my sister’s house and brother’s house last week, they too lifted up pieces that they got from my grandparents. “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” [ vs. 32] Talk with God in this life, so you can receive tailor-made blessings in the next life. “Sell your possessions and give alms” Jesus said. My parents saved things most of their life, and when it was time to sell their house, we sold or disposed of anything the four siblings didn’t want. I don’t know who got our treasures, but I know treasures keep blessing others who buy books, or keepsakes, or furniture for pennies on the dollar at thrift stores and antique stores. What of our treasures will became someone else’s at our death? All of our “stuff” brought us joy in life; As Jesus said, “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Later when we die, treasures are stored in our hearts rather than in our homes. As we prepare to go to the Father’s house, we find new treasures, and make new memories.

Jesus then said: “Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning.” Those are old expressions that just mean, “Be ready!” That was always Jesus’ message. Dr. Keith Nickle, former Dean of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, wrote this about those words of Jesus:
“Luke emphasizes keeping vigil for Jesus’ return by sustaining the quality of one’s discipleship rather than by seeking to calculate the most likely moment for his appearance and waiting until then to prepare. Energies expended on computations about the calendar and sequence of end-time events are futile and counterproductive…. Being watchfully alert compels Christian service, conducted in the confident conviction that there is no doubt—he is coming! The only uncertainty is when, and that is not something anyone can find out ahead of time.” (vv. 39-40) [Preaching the Gospel of Luke, Louisville, Westminster John Knox Press, 2000, p. 141]

So Jesus himself told his followers to “Prepare!” It’s a message we often hear at Advent before the birth of Jesus, but the return of Jesus has even bigger ramifications. And there are plenty of us here today who may not live to see his return, but we will meet him upon our death. How will you prepare to move from this life to the next one?

Here are some practical things to do to prepare for that. These are from my experience, and the experiences of other pastors, attorneys, and family members.
1) Have a will. Leaving the distribution of your treasures to chance actually leaves the distribution to the state of Florida. At my request, a church member who is an attorney drew up a one page document telling what happens to your treasures if you have no will. Copies are on the counter in the fellowship hall. If you want some of your treasure to go to the church, or to your children, or to another charity, say so! A will is that document. You can read Jesus words about not focusing on treasures on earth where moths can destroy them, but in modern day, leaving your goods to chance leads to family fights, and months of legal costs. Have conversations now and put decisions on paper. A will is an inexpensive document to create.
2) Have a Health Care Surrogate, a living will that includes organ donation if desired, or fill out a Five Wishes document. Our Body, Mind & Soul programs have gone over those extensively. Sample copies are on the Fellowship Hall bulletin board by the piano. They give legal guidelines during any sudden transition from wellness to sickness you will likely face.
3) Finally, prepare to meet Jesus one day. Just so you know, he will be a brown-skinned Middle-Eastern man. He loves people with brown skin, and black skin, and tan skin and white skin. There will be Christians in Heaven from Mexico, and Russian, and Egypt and Palestine and Korea. There will be people there that you may not choose to meet in your earthly life. What if Jesus is waiting to return, not for our world to become so acrimonious that people give up on it, but for our world to more be neighborly to people of all colors and nationalities, singing about faith, hope, and love? It could be that Jesus is waiting for the kingdoms of our world to become more like the kingdom of Heaven? Could we do our part by loving our neighbors as ourselves? One hymn writer put it this way: “And Lord, haste the day when our faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll, the trumpet shall sound, and the Lord shall descend; even so, it is well with my soul.” So may it be.
Let us pray: Dear God of Heaven and Earth: Jesus taught us to pray for the day when your kingdom comes both on earth and in heaven. We do not have control of heaven, but we can control our own actions on earth. Help us to be the leaven for the bread and the light for the world, working to transform the world, rather being transformed by the world. Then Jesus can meet us with joy. In his name we pray. Amen.

Jeffrey A. Sumner August 11, 2019

08-04-19 JUST BREAD

no sermo

JUST BREAD John 6:25-35 August 4, 2019
Westminster by the Sea Presbyterian Church Radford Rader, D.Min.

Bread.  It’s still a staple, except for the first two weeks of the South Beach Diet.  It still stands for food and life.  It’s basic.  We may live on steak and potatoes, soup and salad, or ice cream and cake but the hungry say, “Bread, please”.
A disheveled, toxic smelling man appeared at the church one morning early in my ministry.  He claimed to be hungry.  You never know; sometimes they are and sometimes it’s a con.  I had some money in my pocket that day and we had a baker in that church.  I offered to take the man and get him something to eat.  He got in the car with me and we drove to the bakery.  At the counter, I said, “Whatever you want for a couple of bucks.”  He looked around at all the donuts and fine pastries and still warm loaves of bread.  Then, he asked for a bag of day-old donuts that cost one dollar.  I couldn’t believe it.  I added a bottle of milk on my own and paid the proprietor.  The stranger sat down and devoured a dozen semi-stale donuts as if hadn’t eaten in days.
I remembered asking, “Mom, I’m hungry.”
She said, “Go get yourself a slice of dry bread.”
“Just bread…plain bread,” I complained.
“You’ll eat it if you are hungry,” she said.

I thought about that while watching the man eat. I thought about bread from heaven – like manna in the desert to wandering Israelites…or bread napkins from the rich man’s table in the dreams of poor Lazarus…or sacks of flour handed down from relief trucks in drought and disaster devastated parts of the world. If you have steak and potatoes, soup and salad, ice cream and cake, bread isn’t much. Take it or leave it. If you are really hungry, bread is life.

Just bread…plain bread…everyday bread…bread you could toast with jam or spread peanut butter and jelly on or put on either side of ham and cheese.   Yet, it graces this table and becomes communion bread, the bread of heaven to those who hunger and thirst in this life.  It might not satisfy your stomach, but it can fill your soul.  It is more than bread.  This bread is symbol and not only points but also embodies that to which it points:  Bread of life – the Word of God – the Son of God – because we cannot live by bread alone but need also God’s presence in our lives.  

I can’t imagine living without Jesus in my life. Life for me is full only because Jesus tells me I am loved by the only one who really counts. Jesus shows me that love and give me hope for today and tomorrow…a hope that carries over the troubles of this time and plants heavenly plans in my head and heart. I’m like the elderly, nearly blind woman in the nursing home. She was wheeled into the circle for the Sunday afternoon service. They began to sing hymns, but she became very agitated. “Where’s the bread!” she demanded. “Where’s the bread!” She wouldn’t be quieted; she wouldn’t stop. Then the minister went to the loaf and broke off a piece. He took it and put it in her hand. She held it between her thumb and finger, quiet and content. She needed this bread. Communion bread is symbol for Jesus, the man of broken body and the life Christ gives…life freed from the burden and shackles of sin…life that has joyous satisfaction even in the darkest shadows…life that has eternity mixed already in its batter. This is more than bread.

The hard part for us sometimes is getting beyond the bread like it was for the seeking crowd and disbelieving Jews did in today’s scripture. They were stuck on the miracle and couldn’t see the sign. They couldn’t see and believe in Jesus as the bread of life. We can be stuck in the physical — just bread — and be unable to embrace the mystery.
A rabbi told this story: Jacob and Esmerelda were Spanish seraphic Jews who immigrated to Palestine. They went to Sabbath services. They listened for familiar words, not knowing modern Hebrew. “Lehem elohim.” (Bread of God). Jacob recognized those words. He went home thinking: “God loves bread.” That week Jacob made 12 loaves of bread and put them in the ark, glad to please God. Shamat, the caretaker of the synagogue had a huge family with many children and almost no money. He came that day needing bread to feed his family. He prayed for a miracle. Then he entered the worship space and smelled the aroma of the fresh bread. He took it as a gift from God.
This went on for 30 years even as the bread became lump, because arthritic fingers could no longer kneed the bread to a fine consistency. One day Jacob caught Shamat taking the bread for himself and became very angry. The two were arguing to the point of violence when the rabbi came in and intervened. They each complained as they told their side of the story. Jacob said how foolish he was for believing that God had taken the bread. Shamat said he should have known it was no miracle. “Foolish men, maybe,” the rabbi concluded, “but now comes the hard part. Jacob, you must continue to bring your bread for Shamat and believe you are giving it to God. Shamat, you must continue to take the bread, and believe it comes from God.”
Friends, now comes the hard part. We are to partake of this bread, made by human hands, blessed by human clergy and offered by human leaders, even from sinners next to us with whom we may be angry today. We must believe it comes from Jesus himself, who blessed and broke and gave bread to those who followed him. We are to take a piece of bread and believe we are given both unmerited love and forgiveness in our participation in this sacrament. Somehow the incarnation, cross and resurrection are to become efficacious for us in just plain old bread. We are to take what is ordinary and believe in the sacred. We are to do it again, what we have done maybe a thousand times, as if it was our first, eye opening and heart-warming communion experience. We are to take this bread, hungry and thirsty for what Christ alone can give. We are to believe in a miracle of love and forgiveness and heaven and Christ with us, Christ in us, Christ through us all in this bread.
It happens, maybe not every time, maybe not this time, but it happens that the bread we eat and the cup we share become the way in which Christ makes himself know to us and fills us with life anew. Some days it clicks…maybe today is on of those days for you and you will know a satisfaction that doesn’t wear off in three hours but rather real satisfaction, the very presence of the Lord.
Take. Eat. Give thanks. Expect. The Lord is with us!

n text available at this time