Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bread as the Body of Christ

Right now the smell of baking bread is filling my home as 6 loaves of French bread are baking in the oven as I type this.  Four of those loaves will end up as bread for communion or part of a communion meal during our these next few days of Holy Week. The other 2 loaves will go to families who tables I have been invited to for an Easter meal.

I make bread often, normally at least once every other week, and one of my favorite moments in the baking process is while kneading the dough.  At some point the dough almost comes to life as it starts to push back at you.  You push it forward; it resist and pushes back as the yeast comes alive.  It is this kneading that essential to the bread making process; it is what causes the yeast to activate and what creates that great texture that makes bread-a-holics like me want to dive into fresh baked loaf.

I was struck this morning as I was kneading the dough, much of which will become communion bread - the body of Christ, how much this is a metaphor for the church - the Body of Christ.  So often my job as a pastor is to push my congregation and the church universal, the Body of Christ, to change and move out of its comfort zone.  As a result, the church often resist and pushes back. But it is this back and forth, this kneading of the church, that changes the church for the better.  It is what causes denominations to talk to one another and realize our differences are really minor compared to the ministry that we are doing.  It is what causes individual congregations to become more welcoming.  It is what makes people in the pew grow in their faith as they start to question what they believe and why is it that we do certain things.

Yes, as pastors, that push back becomes exhausting, just like kneading dough can cause hurt a baker's wrist.   But it is knowing that it is needed that keeps bakers kneading, and it will hopefully keep pastors pushing, so that the Body of Christ, both bread and the community of believers, can be as good as it is suppose to be.

Monday, March 25, 2013

It's been awhile

I haven't been posting on my blog for awhile.....since well.....August.  That is a really long time.  And a lot has happened since then.

Basically I think I stopped blogging because I was mainly posting my sermons, but I have started not writing my sermons.  In fact for a long time prior to when I stopped posting them, I would write one sermon but the one I preached was similar but also entirely different and I would hardly look at my manuscript while preaching.  And when I did, I found it distracting - I would have the perfect sentence written but would stumble remembering it so then I would have to quick find it, scanning my manuscript and then stumble over and over again.

So I have been figuring out what to write here and I guess the time has gotten away from me.

But I have a few ideas, and you will see a few in the upcoming week as I share what Bethlehem is doing for Holy Week.  It means that I won't be posting regularly - each Monday or whatever, but at least hopefully more often than once every 7 1/2 months.

See you soon!