Tenth Sunday After Pentecost, Year C

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
First Sunday in Advent, Year A -The Circle of the Church Year December 1, 2013 Advent 1, Year A Isaiah 2:1-5, Matthew 24:36-44
Last Sunday after Pentecost, Christ the King, Yr C November 24, 2013 Last Sunday after Pentecost, Christ the King, Year C Luke 23:33-43
Twenty Sixth Sunday After Pentecost, Year C November 17, 2013 Proper 28, Year C Malachi 4:1-2a, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13, Luke 21:5-10
Twenty Fifth Sunday After Pentecost, Year C November 10, 2013 Proper 27, Year C Job 19:23-27a, Luke 20:27-38
Twenty Second Sunday After Pentecost, Year C October 20, 2013 Proper 24C Psalm 121, 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5, Luke 18:1-8
Twenty First Sunday After Pentecost, Year C October 13, 2013 Proper 23, Year C 2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c, Psalm 111, Luke 17:11-19
Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost, Year C October 6, 2013 Proper 22, Year C Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4, Psalm 37:1-10, 2 Timothy 1:1-14, Luke 17:5-10
Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost, Year C September 29, 2013 Proper 21, Year C Luke 16:19-31
Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost, Year C September 22, 2013 Proper 20, Year C Luke 16:1-13
Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost, Year C September 15, 2013 Proper 19, Year C Exodus 32:7-14, Luke 15: 1-10
Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost, Year C September 8, 2013 Proper 18, Year C Luke 14:25-33
Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost, Year C September 1, 2013 Proper 17, Year C Sirach 10:12-18, Psalm 112, Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16, Luke 14:1, 7-14
Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost, Year C August 25, 2013 Proper 16, Year C Isaiah 58:9b-14;Psalm 103:1-8;Hebrews 12:18-29;Luke 13:10-17
Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost, Year C August 18, 2013 Proper 15, Year C Hebrews 11:29-12:2
Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost, Year C August 11, 2013 Proper 14, Year C Genesis 15:1-6, Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16, Luke 12:32-40

 

Tenth Sunday After Pentecost, Year C

Sermon Date:July 21, 2013

Scripture: Luke 11:1-13

Liturgy Calendar: Proper 12, Year C


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This past week on Thursday, Caroline’s Promise came to Port Royal with a program called a Celebration of Nutrition and Reading. 

The leader told the children who came to the program that carbohydrates are important because they give us energy.

“Eating bread is like putting gas in the tank of your car,” she said. 

And on the first night we met for the Feasting with Jesus Lenten series we did here at St Peter’s, we talked about bread.

Douglas Neel and Joel Pugh, who wrote the book, Feasting with Jesus, call bread, wine and olives the holy trinity of food, 

because in Bible times, bread was essential for life, the heart of every meal.

Douglas and Pugh point out that bread was “made every day, and eaten at every meal.  It was the most important food product of the entire biblical period and continued to be the most important food for centuries to follow. During times of famine, long after all the meat and vegetables were gone, the people still were making and eating bread.  When the bread was gone, everything was gone.”

And so it’s no wonder that when the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray, Jesus tells them to pray for bread. 

“Give us each day our daily bread.”

These words appear on the wall above the altar  in our church, and many of us pray these words every day.  Most Christians know the Lord’s prayer by heart.

But what do we mean when we pray these words?

“Give us each day our daily bread.”

Certainly, we are praying for bread, for sustenance, for energy for today.  But there’s more.

The Greek reads  To.n a;rton h`mw/n to.n evpiou,sion di,dou h`mi/n to. kaqV h`me,ranÅ 

evpiou,sion is an extremely rare word in Greek,  appearing only in the New Testament  and only here in Luke and in Jesus’ teaching of the Lord’s Prayer as reported by Matthew. 

Joseph Fitzmyer, who wrote the Anchor Bible Commentary, The Gospel According to Luke X-XXIV, says that  evpiou,sion  can mean “bread for subsistence, necessary for existence, essential.”   Eating bread keeps us alive.  

evpiou,sion gives this phrase a meaning something like “bread for the current day, for today, daily.”  This idea fits in with Jesus telling the disciples to have no anxiety about tomorrow.   

Remember those Israelites who escaped from Egypt and ended up wandering in the wilderness?    

They worried about starving to death in that barren land, but God provided them with manna each day, and they were to gather just enough for that day and no more, trusting that God would provide them with their daily bread day after day.

The Israelites came to know their total dependence on God because of gathering and eating this manna in the wilderness day by day.  

Our daily bread is our essential bread—the bread that we depend on God to give us.  

But daily bread also has a deeper meaning for us, as it did for the early Christians who came together to break bread and drink wine in remembrance of Jesus.  

In the gospel according to John, Jesus says,  I am the bread of life.”  

So when we pray for our daily bread, we pray not only for the essential food that we need to get through the day physically, but we also we pray for Jesus, the bread of life, to nourish and sustain us throughout the day.

The words of an old spiritual capture this meaning.
 

“In the morning when I rise, in the morning when I rise, in the morning when I rise, Give me Jesus.  Give me Jesus, give me Jesus, You may have all this world, give me Jesus.”   (LEVAS 91) 

–Jesus, the bread of life, our essential bread.  

And not only does Jesus nourish us and sustain us, but Jesus gives us the energy we need to get through each and every day that God grants us to live.  

Here’s an example of what I mean.  The first hymn we sang today, “Guide me O Thou Great Jehovah,  has this plea in the first verse–“Bread  of heaven, feed me till I want no more.” 

These words were written by William Williams, a Welshman, in the year 1745, during the time of the Great Awakening, a huge revival that swept through the British Isles and the United States.

Robert J. Morgan, in his book Then Sings my Soul, says that Williams had gone to the university to become a physician, but one day when he was out walking, he passed by a churchyard and heard the preaching of Howell Harris, who was standing on a tombstone and electrifying the crowd with his words. 

Williams was converted that day, and became a preacher himself.  For the next forty-three years, Williams travelled over 95,000 miles, and preached to crowds of 10,000 or more.  Morgan says that once Williams “spoke to an estimated 80,000, noting in his journal, ‘God strengthened me to speak so loud that most could hear.’”

Energy! 

Williams found this superhuman energy that carried him through forty-three years of travelling and spreading God’s word  by  turning to Jesus, who was his essential bread, and I’m sure h must have frequently prayed the lines that ended up in his hymn—“Bread of heaven, bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more, feed me till I want no more.” 

After Jesus teaches the disciples the Lord’s Prayer, he shares a story with the disciples.

A man who has an unexpected guest show up on his doorstep in the middle of the night goes through the dark to his friend’s house  and asks for three loaves of bread so that he can feed his guest.    The friend, who has already gone to bed, is reluctant to disturb his sleeping household by opening the door, but he relents and gives the man who asks the three loaves of bread that he needs. 

On one level, this story is about the generosity of God.

But on another level, this story is about our own generosity to others. 

Notice that this man does not go seeking bread in the middle of the night for himself, but for a friend in need who has come to him as a guest.

And when he gets what he needs, he uses the bread to feed his friend. 

Corita Kent was a politically active nun and teacher in the 1960’s. She was also an artist who made the cover of Newsweek.  She created her silkscreened art by taking familiar advertising labels and slogans and finding inspired meaning in these little pieces of everyday culture.

Some statements appear on her silkscreen, “Enriched Bread,” which you’ll find on the cover of today’s bulletin—those of us old enough to remember Wonder Bread wrappers can see those yellow, blue and red circles that appeared on packages of that white Wonder Bread—(remember those wrappers, the multicolored circles on either end of the wrapper and then in the middle of the loaf  Wonder  Enriched Bread—Helps build strong bodies eight ways?)

The statements on the “Enriched Bread” silkscreen reproduced on the front of the bulletin are too small to read, but one of them says this. 

“There are so many hungry people that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” 

Yes!  These are the hungry people that knock on our doors in the middle of the night—the hungry people who ask, seek and knock at our doors because they don’t know anything about knocking on God’s door. 

When we throw open our doors to these middle of the night guests, we’re throwing open the door to our guests that God throws open to us when we ask, seek and knock.  When we give our bread  that God has given to us with abandon—maybe even giving away all we have for that particular day—we are giving away God’s bread,  and we give it away trusting that indeed, God will replenish our daily bread.

“Give us each day our daily bread…..”

Bread for today, bread for tomorrow, the bread of life to share with the hungry world—and the generosity and the energy to share it!    

Amen. 

References

The Food and Feasts of Jesus:  Inside the World of First-Century Fare, with Menus and Recipes, by Douglas E. Neel and Joel A. Pugh.  Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.  2012.

The Gospel According to Luke X-XXIV, Anchor Bible Commentary, Volume 28A, by Joseph A. Fitzmyer.  Doubleday & Company, Inc.  Garden City, NY. 1985. 

Then Sings My Soul, by Robert J. Morgan.  Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN.  2003.

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