Tag Archives: Communion

Bread to Share

English: Jesus feeding a crowd with 5 loaves o...
Jesus feeding a crowd with 5 loaves of bread and two fish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I made a mistake during the children’s lesson. We had just read Matthew 14:13-21, the feeding of the five-thousand, and I neglected interpreting this as a multiplication of loaves, that somehow five loaves had become enough to feed five thousand men plus the women and children.

I should have considered that people would prefer the idea that with Jesus five loaves could become enough to feed everyone. The passage fails to explain how five small loaves and two fish had fed everyone plus had yielded twelve baskets of leftovers. The abundant leftovers shows those present did not merely take a tiny taste. Did the loaves miraculously expand as one family passed them to the next? Did a new loaf spontaneously appear as people took a piece from those serving?

Interpreting this miracle as a physical multiplication  of loaves would show Jesus as creator of all that is seen and unseen, as able to create something from nothing, as one who can ignore the laws of nature to solve our mundane problems.

Alas, Jesus did not say: “I’ll take care of this;” instead he commanded: “You give them something to eat.”

Four baskets filed with pieces of bread
Multiplied Loaves

We had demonstrated this story in 2012, when we had asked families to bring a piece of bread from their table at home to share for communion, thus connecting our communion table with our personal dinner tables. I was anxious. What if people forgot? Instead of a loaf of bread to break, our communion table had four empty baskets. As our deacons collected the offering I had invited families to place their piece of bread in the baskets. When they had finished the four baskets held enough bread to serve communion to several congregations. Apparently other people worried about having enough to eat.

I suspect the disciples had felt anxious when Jesus had told them: “You give them something to eat,” and they could only come up with five loaves and two fish. Would the people riot when the bread ran out?

But just as the disciples had hidden a few loaves and fish in their cloaks, I suspect many people in the crowd had a little food with them. I imagine the crowd getting anxious feeling their stomachs growl while doubting that those sitting near them had any food.

Imagine going to a sporting event and finding all the food vendors closed, would you pull a candy bar or a water bottle from your coat if you thought the people near you were hungry and had nothing to eat?

Thus I interpret the feeding of the five-thousand as a miracle of sharing. As people broke off a piece from a loaf or fish handed to them, they reached into their cloaks and added to what the disciples and their neighbors had shared. Their generosity not only fed everyone, but yielded abundant leftovers.

Sharing remains a miracle for scarcity often drives human responses rather than recognize and rely on hidden gifts already in our hands.

The miracle of sharing fits within the laws of nature (conservation of matter) and keeps the opportunity for solving mundane problems in our hands. Feeding those who are hungry is not merely a divine problem but also our problem.

“You give them something to eat.”

Celebrating the Lord’s Supper in Easter 2012

Bread and cup“Teach the congregation about the depth of meaning in the Lord’s Supper, not just with words, but also with how we celebrate Communion,” the Elders on Session challenged. In addition to serving communion every Sunday in Easter, they wanted more. Thus we are now scheduled serve communion eleven times in ten weeks (including Maundy Thursday and the first Sundays of April and June).

Worship Plans for Easter 2012

These worship plans are tentative and subject to revision. Suggestions will be carefully considered.

Date

Theme

Implementation

April 1
Passion Sunday
Isaiah 50:4-9a – Christ: God’s Forgiveness
Remembrance of God’s grace, Christ’s sacrifice, and work of the Spirit.
Communion as Atonement
Small cups & wafers served to participants in pews
Christ’s Body given & Blood shed for us.
April 5
Maundy Thursday
Sin as slavery; Orderly plan of freedom.
Institution of the Lord’s Supper
Passover Meal: Unleavened bread, wine
April 8
Resurrection
Mark 16:1-8 – You are looking for Jesus
Gift of God through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit
High formality. Sung responses.
Child delivers elements gift wrapped.
Participants come forward to receive bread and small cups.
April 15
Easter 2
Acts 4:32-35 – Everything in Common
Reconciling community
Sit in a circle, minister to one another.
Intinction with one loaf
April 22
Easter 3
Youth Group skit
The resurrection has implications today.
Youth serve with modernized setting: Bread sticks in a pizza box, Grape Kool-Aid in plastic cups
April 29
Easter 4
John 10:11-18 – Good Shepherd
Eucharist is our great sacrifice of praise to God.
Each family presents a slice of bread during the offering. Those slices are shared during communion.
May 6
Easter 5
John 15:1-8 – On Christ’s Vine
Incorporation
One loaf divided and shared with cups in pews. Elder and Deacons immediately leave worship to offer communion to those unable to attend.
May 13
Easter 6
John 15:9-17 – Love one another
Spirit filled symbol of God’s Love
Women of the Church
Heart shaped pieces of bread
May 20
Easter 7
John 17:6-19 – Christ glorified in disciples
Sanctification
Wedding Feast: Invitations sent with a “robe”
Wedding runner & Unity Candle
Table filled with food: Fish, milk, wine, honey, salt, …, braided bread.
May 27
Pentecost
Acts 2:1-21 – God pours out the Holy Spirit
Confirmation
Give all members a red stole
Confirmands get white stoles
Give red stoles after confirmation
June 3
Trinity Sunday
John 3:1-17 – Born of water and spirit.
Rebirth
Flour and oil dedicated as a sin offering after assurance of pardon. Children shape flour into pastry and bake it during sermon to be served for communion.

Other Notes:

  1. Commend using the unison prayer after communion as a prayer before meals.
  2. Add explanatory notices in bulletin beginning in Lent, March Newsletter, and email March 21 – May 23.
  3. Families invited to bring bread for one of Sunday.