Tag Archives: Community

Breaking Bread Together

breakingbreadLiving in the Spirit
July 7, 2015

Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19

They brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt-offerings and offerings of well-being before the Lord. When David had finished offering the burnt-offerings and the offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts, and distributed food among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, to each a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people went back to their homes. –2 Samuel 6:17-19

There is just something healing about eating a meal together. My dad was born into one of those yours, mine, and ours families. There were 15 children who lived to adulthood. As you can imagine our family reunions were rather large. When I was a small child those reunions also included my dad’s cousins and their families. We rented a building at the fairgrounds. I have fond memories of those dinners to this day. Lots of food, lots of laughter, sometimes some solemn moments to remember someone missing who had died, and in my family, lots of tall tales of earlier times. These memories are what came to mind as I imagined the Israelites setting down to eat the meal David provided.

Our government serves state dinners to dignitaries visiting. No matter how continuous relationships might be, taking time to break bread together allows people the opportunity to be reminded that we are all God’s children who must eat. We must have our bodies, minds, and spirits nurtured routinely to be and do the tasks of living in community.

Jesus knew this. He instituted what we call the Lord’s Supper, Communion, The Eucharist to help us remember whose we are and to nurture our bodies, minds, and spirits for our work as a part of the Body of Christ.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for the gift of breaking bread together. Refresh our spirits and heal our souls as we share in your meal of remembrance. Make us whole, make us one. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Whatever is Just

JUstice for childrenLiving in the Spirit
Light a Candle for Children
October 10, 2014

 Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:1-9 

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.— Philippians 4:8-9

I am a very goal oriented person so it takes work for me to get into the processes of life. I have learned though that attaining most of the goals of life result from people doing the processes with perseverance. We must have a nice balance in both being goal oriented and dedicated to doing the processes that result in the attainment of our goals. Sports is an excellent example of that. The goal may be to win the game, but the game is won because the athletes have learned and practices the processes of the game so well that they become automatic on the field of play. Our goals as a follower of Christ are to love God, to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, and to make disciples for Christ. In our scripture today, Paul lists some of the processes that need to become automatic in our lives to help us achieve those goals. Doing justice is one of them.

Justice does not happen by accident. We must do justice. Justice, however, is not something we can ever do alone. It always entails interdependent relationships. Justice, of necessity, involves our working together, one with the other, and that requires us to find common ground on what is just.

Most of the issues that relate to our children are issues of justice. What is right for every child? Every child needs to be loved; have his or her basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter met; be educated; have proper preventive and, when necessary, restorative medical care; and be protected from harm. The list could go on but the point is these needs are the responsibility of all of us and the details of what they mean must be addressed in community.

 Oklahoma Fact: In 2010, 24.8% or 929,666 people in Oklahoma were children.*

Prayer: Lord, challenge us to take up both the goal and the processes of justice for children as they are more vulnerable to the storms of injustice than even we adults are. Amen.

* http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/2541-child-population—decade-count?loc=38&loct=2#detailed/2/any/false/133,11,1,42/any/8997,8998

 All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Jesus Loves Me

Jesus Loves MELiving in the Spirit
Light a Candle for Children
September 24, 2014

 Scripture Reading: Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16

 We will not hide them from their children;
   we will tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
   and the wonders that he has done. —78:1-4

I can get so caught up in justice issues that I sometimes forget about wholeness and oneness. I do that to my own peril as a Christian for it is the wholeness we find in God and the oneness we experience as part of the Body of Christ that ultimately leads to justice.

There is nothing that we can do for our children that is more important than to teach them about the love of God through Jesus Christ and to help them experience that love in all aspects of their lives. I have sung Jesus Loves Me as long as I can remember and was probably first introduced to justice issues by singing Jesus, Loves the Little Children, All the Children of the World. I even sang Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam to Shine for Him Each Day.

 The African proverb: It takes a village to raise a child is right. Families are usually the starting point and we must do everything we can to enable strong families. The church also has a vital role. Many first learn how to live in community in churches where we learn how to share and help one another. When those lessons are not learned our whole world suffers.

 Oklahoma Fact: In 2011 36% of Children lived in single-parent families*.

 Prayer: God of our fathers and mothers, strengthen our families, our churches, and our communities so all children know of your love. Amen.

*2013 KIDS Count Profile: Oklahoma. Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, www.oica.org.

 

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.