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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Bread of Life Edition

Readings for the coming Sunday can be found here .

I'm typing this while in the throes of an evening snack attack; I'm hungry, but I don't know quite for what.

That seems to be the human condition. We want...something. We don't know what. So we try to fill that emptiness with "stuff" -- with possessions, or "trophies," or experiences, or busyness.

In this Sunday's Gospel lesson Jesus suggests to those who've come to find him that they're wanting to fill themselves with the wrong things; with things like bread and circuses that ultimately fail to satisfy. I am the Bread of Life, he tells them.

How might that text preach for you this coming Sunday?

Or perhaps you've been following the David story in your sermons. How will you tackle this Sunday's installment, where David is confronted by his own guilt and the tragic, ugly circumstances of his wrongdoing?

Maybe, this green and growing season, you're thinking of preaching on the Ephesians text and its instructions for life together as a community of faith.

Or maybe your sermon text is all of the above. Or something else entirely.

In any event...what ideas are you kneading in your mind right now? What leaven is slowly working through the texts for you? As always, your thoughts and comments are appreciated by us all as we pray, preach and plan for Sunday!


  1. Good morning folks. I'm going for the Exodus alternative [no, no, not the one where I run screaming from the pulpit down the street to Starbuck's, tempting tho' that be] to use with the John passage. Will start Ex. reading at verse one however - how can you resist the so very evocative 'they camped in the wilderness of Sin'??
    Sermon title 'It's raining bread'...
    thinking abut hunger, satisfaction [I can't get no?], and will focus particularly on gratitude I think - thinking about Ex v4
    ‘The Lord said to Moses, “I shall rain down bread from heaven for you…” and
    Exodus v15 ‘that is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat’

    So gratitude - for all the many blessings God showers us with... instead of the 'bratitude' when we sometimes just take it all for granted? Perhaps. And the gratitude being a bit like yeast, releasing us to be blessings to others in God's creation. Early days yet!

    For the all-age bit am wondering about us 'wandering' about the church finding hidden bread and some birds... and then we can discuss the story from the Exodus passage as we sit nibbling the bread?

    All the bread stuff tho' - we had communion last week... tough to carry on focusing on the bread without communion - bread's such a powerful symbol. Hmmmm.

    Hymns are: [numbers from Church of Scotland hymnary CH4]

    167 Guide me o thou great Jehovah
    93 Let us with a gladsome mind
    192 All my hope on God is founded
    259 Beauty for brokenness
    543 Christ be our light

    Anyhoo, some of my crazed ramblings before I throw myself back into this dissertation of doom. Look forward to gaining inspiration from you all [no pressure, eh?] :)

  2. My mind keeps wondering what did they eat in the days that Jesus walked the earth. Tons of stuff about bread. It's all carbs. Atkins diet eliminated all bread and carbs. Is there something about bread that makes you more hungry, more wanting whereas Jesus who is the bread of life satisfies.

  3. Looking at 2 possibilities.

    1. John and Ephesians as an invitation to discernment.

    2. II Sam and Ephesians and wrestling with power and truth.

  4. God_Guurrlll - and the oly liquid refreshment being wine...?!

  5. Nik, I like the gratitude vs. bratitude distinction!

    It's a tough month for lectionary preachers...multiple weeks of the bread of life. I'm on vacation, but prayers for all of you who are pondering this day.

  6. Good morning, friends. Pondering the gospel lesson this week (at the outset of this month's bread-a-thon that the lectionary gives us), I found myself thinking about how, in this passage, Jesus is so clear about urging his listeners not to confuse what fills the belly with what fills the soul. Yet at the same time, we see throughout the gospels how Jesus turns to food again and again to explain who he is and what he has come to do. Though he cautions us to discern the distinctions between our hungers, he also makes such rich use--both in metaphor and in his actual table practices--of how our hungers of body and soul are intertwined.

    I dig this about Jesus.

    I have a reflection on this over at The Painted
    this week & would love for you to stop by. You might should pack a sandwich; writing it made me hungry!

    Blessings and a tasty week to you!

  7. Good morning everyone!

    I'm doing interim ministry at a very conflicted congregation. It's a challenging setting to preach in. There's so much anxiety about every little detail that they miss the big picture of it all.

    So I'm going back to the basics. If Jesus says that he is the bread of life, then I want to show them how basic that is. And I'm going to make bread on the altar. It's actually a tortilla recipe so it involves no yeast and I can make it over the course of my sermon. The only ingredients are: oil, water, and flour. The message of Jesus is so simple, and yet we tend to make it so complicated.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts for now...

  8. I am looking at the Gospel for this Sunday and for the revival I'm preaching the following weekend. I'm focusing on the fact that they were only following because they ate their fill of the loaves. How many of us do that exact same thing. What is the difference between being an admirer of Jesus and being a follower or disciple.At least that what it looks like today!

  9. crazyknitter,
    I love the idea of making bread during your sermon. Are you going to have some baked/fresh to smell as they come in and eat as they leave?

    I'm not preaching this week on lectionary, but do have to prepare a message on Matthew's version of Jesus calling of the first disciples and the invitation to "follow me and I will make you fish for people.: This is for our contemporary service, so I'm hoping to find some sort of video. Any ideas?

  10. Our Worship Committee baked bread this past Sunday, to be served at the Eucharist, and will be continuing that for the next couple of weeks. It did smell (and taste) wonderful, even if it was a logistical challenge for the pastor and some of the communicants.

  11. Working on Ephesians for this week, figure we have plenty of Sundays left to take on the bread of life theme! I serve a parish in which the different congregations don't always communicate or cooperate all that well, so the reminder of unity and that all have gifts bestowed by God will hopefully be helpful.

    I especially get a kick out of the part of the verse in Ephesians that tells us to grow up!

  12. I'm torn between the gospel, having preached all of the David/Bathsheba story last week, and Ephesians. Rev H-D, I like the question you pose. It makes me think of people who "lose" their faith then tragedy strikes or when God doesn't perform on demand. Now to continue reading and see what comes up by Thursday. I'm taking some time off Thursday afternoon through Saturday afternoon.

  13. So happy the Ephesians passage is included for this week-- I'm doing pulpit supply for an island congregation in a community fiercely divided over...the island's first flush toilet. I am not making this up. It's a small island with a delicate balance of resources, and somebody "from away" rigged up his own system in defiance of the rest of the residents. I'm thinking of that manna and quail in the wilderness, too... and thinking of the many ways isolated communities can, uh, "raise a stink" about the sources and uses of nourishment.

  14. MaineCelt,
    Your story beats all of our odd stories. I think you deserve a prize. I hope you write a book one day

  15. you all are cracking me UP today, esp Nik and MaineCelt.

    I'm on ephesians - there will be a baptism AND communion, so it will the The Shortest Sermon Ever - maybe I'll tell your story, MC, and talk about anythign can divide us, if we let it....

  16. and, oh!! I LOVE the idea of making bread right there, KP, Can you pass on more details? I would really like to try that for World Communion Sunday.

  17. I baked bread in worship once! It was awesome -- I did one yeast and one without yeast and showed the difference between the two doughs. My family ate wonderful bread all week long!

    I'm headed to the Gospel this week and have the title "What Will You Give Me?" I frequently hear people in the church say that something said or done in church didn't meet their needs. We will always want something more if we're simply sticking with the tangible elements of worship or even the basic elements for physical life. Jesus made it clear that is wasn't about the tangible elements of life but about something far greater. My beginnings . . . !

  18. Nik: I, too, used to agonize about talking about communion when we DON'T HAVE COMMUNION. I finally decided...not to agonize about it. The basic, fundamental worship service of the Christian church is the Holy Communion service. It's the meal that tells us (and makes us) who we are as a gathered community. So it makes PERFECT SENSE to talk about communion absolutely all the time. It's fundamental to who we are and to what we do (even when we're not doing it). I now reference communion, right along with baptism, in practically every sermon.

    If someone eventually said,"hey, how come we talk about communion all the time, but we only have it once or twice a month?"--that would suit me just fine.

  19. MainCelt cracked me up.
    If it's not one thing its another...

    I am going with the Gospel. Communion is next week so this week is Whoever believes -open hearted

    It's that opens up the topic for talking about who comes to the table. I am thinking of setting up a couple of bread machines next week to get to the perfect point for the sermon/communion time. We've done this before.

    And thinking about bread we had a memorial service last week and one of the elders baked home made rolls for the luncheon after and they smelled SOOOO good all thru the church. It was a wonderful home comfort sensation. can it be wednesday and how can it be almost August?


  20. I am one month into my first pastorate. I am trying to learn how NOT to think of my Sunday sermon. Please tell me it will get easier.
    Anyway, I have been preaching on the book of Ephesians. The theme for July was how we can individually fulfill our call as Christians, now I turn to how we can be united as the church to fulfill our call using our God given gifts. The title is Christian Conversation, the part about speaking truth in love really hit me. It seems people aren't nice to each other anymore!


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