Carol, our Children’s Pastor, got to be the adult Pastor for today as well. She ingenuously wove several themes into one. Simplicity was a theme, with a simple title of “The Bread of Life”. Obviously, BREAD was another theme; and she’d had the older children make bread 2 weeks before today, and the younger ones squished grapes to make grape juice last week, and four of the kids helped serve communion today. Of course, various types of bread-loaves were used in the Thanksgiving decorations, and the service started off with a procession of children of ALL ages bringing the decorations to the front. Then, for the Children’s Story, she explained how we “offer the fruits of our labour”.
For the adults, she elaborated on the theme of “labour”, by describing how bread was always made–until the Industrial Revolution, bread-making was what took up most of your time: including planting & harvesting wheat, grinding into flour, kneading the dough, and so on. She talked about the “table of shewbread”, where the Israelites put the bread in God’s presence (also “bread of the Presence”), to “show” Him the fruits of their labour–to offer it to Him; and she talked about Communion bread.
When she visited the Holy Land, she learned how the Bedouins have always used the “breaking of bread” to signify reconciliation. If you had an argument with someone and you wanted to settle it, you’d get together for a meal, and “break bread”… So when Jesus did it, and called it His body… well, the meaning is/was obvious. The ultimate reconciliation is with God Himself. Jesus called Himself “The Bread of Life”. The several (12) loaves from the “table of shewbread” became ONE loaf, to symbolize the unity that we have in Christ, no matter what age we are, what nationality, etc.
One more theme: spirituality in simple things. Sometimes spirituality can be rather “mystic”, or mystifying, but we need to realize that God meets us in the simple, everyday things–like eating together (or just being together). It was the simple act of breaking bread that opened the eyes of the disciples from Emmaus to recognize Jesus (Luke 24). (That was a favourite theme of our former pastor.)
We should expect to see God in the offering of our everyday labours, we should look for Him in the simple things. That’s supposed to be the theme of this journal.
As our student pastor closed off with: we should not be concerned with just feeling thankful, but with being a thankful people.
“Take your everyday, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going to work and walking around life–and place it before God as an offering.” (Romans 12:1)