Sunday, October 30, 2011

Saints Living Generously



1 Corinthians 16:1-4
Although many churches are observing All Saints Day today, we’re going to observe it next Sunday with a special litany of remembrance of “all the saints, who from their labors rest.”   Even though we’re launching our annual stewardship campaign instead, it’s not too early to start remembering the people who have influenced our lives and have shown themselves worthy of being imitated.  These people could  be parents or teachers, preachers or friends, long time church members or the other saints of history, whose stories continue to inspire.  As the hymn “For All the Saints” declares, this is a “blest communion, company divine!”  And together, we form the one body in Christ and the communion of saints.  

Although there are saints who have rested from their labors, there are also living saints. In fact, according to Paul, we all could be among the hagious or saints of God.  So, do you feel like you’re one of God’s saints?  And what does it mean to be a living saint? Does it mean that you and I must live perfect lives?  I hope not!  But perhaps this quote from Albert Schweitzer is worth pondering: “A man does not have to be an angel to be a saint.”  

So, saints of God are you ready to talk about stewardship?  And as our theme material suggests, we’re to be   “Saints Alive! Living Generously.”   Of course this theme only works if we’re ready to accept the calling to be living saints who live generous lives.  
 
Generosity, as I’ve learned through life, is a spiritual discipline that requires consistency of practice.  I like what Katie Hays, a Disciple pastor and a wonderful preacher who I met last spring, has to say about stewardship.  She says that “stewardship is about the long-term, lifetime habit of deliberate generosity.”   The principle of tithing, whether or not you give 10%, is the basis of such a practice, and I know that many of you practice this spiritual discipline.  You don’t wait for emergency appeals.  You just give in season and out of season, knowing that generosity is part of being a follower of Jesus.  You don’t use your giving as leverage in the community, but you understand that it reflects your commitment to the common good of the community of faith and beyond. 

As you ponder this definition of stewardship, did you notice the tree that seems to be growing out of the back window of the sanctuary?  Felicia and Debbie “planted” it.  And did you notice the different colors of leaves?  This seems appropriate to this autumn season, doesn’t it?   

Now, these three different colors represent three kinds of givers.  They represent those who gave in the past, those who are giving in the present, and those who will give in the future – perhaps in the coming year and beyond.  These leaves are all connected to each other by branches, a trunk, and roots, which represents the church, while the different leaves represent the saints of old, the saints of today, and the saints of tomorrow, who give generously through this church.  Do you see the connection between the relationship of the leaves to the trees and our relationship to God through the community of faith?  Even as a leaf can’t live apart from the tree, is it possible for us to live spiritually apart from the community of faith?  

While I’m not an expert on tree science, I do know that even as the leaves draw life from the tree itself, the leaves are the means by which the tree breathes, drawing in energy and expelling energy.  In our relationship to the church are we not in the same position?  And is not our giving part of this relationship so that through each of us the presence of God flows in and out to the world? 

As we read the passage from Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church, did you hear his request that the church take up a collection for the saints in Jerusalem who were suffering from poverty?  Did you also hear him mention the example of the Galatian church?  They’d been setting aside funds on first day of the week – the day of worship – so that when Paul arrived they would be ready.  They did this deliberately and consistently, and if you read some of Paul’s other letters you’ll find similar instructions in them.  

When you hear this request, do you hear echoes of one of Amy Gopp’s Week of Compassion requests?    If you’re on her email list, you probably get one these requests every week, which is a reminder that there are needs throughout the year – an earthquake in Turkey and a famine in Africa, a tornado in Missouri and a flood in Iowa.  Amy issues the request, asking the saints of God to give generously so as to touch the lives of others, perhaps people we’ll never meet.      

Why should they do this?  In writing to the Roman church Paul says that the Gentile churches, which had received spiritual blessings from the Jerusalem church, owe their brothers and sisters in Judea a portion of their material blessings as a sign of gratitude  (Rom. 15:27).  As you read the letters of Paul and the Acts of the Apostles you see and hear a call to be one body, to gather across time and space as saints of God, and consider the needs of others.   These gifts are signs of our connectedness with each other.

So, as you listened to this passage did you hear an appeal to our competitive spirits?  Are you surprised that Paul might create a bit of competition between the churches?  What do you think about this appeal?  You’ll find even more of this in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, where he tells them that they need to have their offering ready to go because he’d been bragging on them to the Macedonian churches, which has stirred in the Macedonians a zeal to give.  So Paul tells them – don’t embarrass me or yourselves by not having the check ready!!   (2 Cor. 8:1-5). 

Returning to that definition of stewardship as being a long-term, lifelong, and deliberate act of generosity, and thinking about the leaves on that stewardship tree, where do you see yourself?   Are you a past giver, a current giver, or future giver?  Or are you all three?  

When you leave church this morning, the stewardship group will be passing out packets that will help you discern your giving levels and your commitment to financially underwrite the ministry of the church.  As you take these packets home and read through the information in it, you’ll have an opportunity to prayerfully consider what you would commit yourself to giving through the church. 

While you do this remember too that some of the people that these leaves represent are the saints who no longer live amongst us, but whose gifts continue to sustain this church’s ministry as it moves into the future.  Consider the legacy of those whose past gifts to purchase land and to build buildings, whose gifts to the endowments and capital funds, help sustain this ministry now and into the future. Remember that the interest and dividends from these funds help provide an important foundation for our annual budget.  They don’t replace our giving, but they do amplify the effects of our giving.       

Besides the endowment funds and capital funds that support our general fund and outreach giving, there is the Edgar Dewitt Jones Scholarship fund that supports Disciples seminarians in their studies.  I met someone at the General Assembly who had been a recipient of this scholarship and she expressed her deep appreciation for it, because it helped sustain her studies at a crucial point in time.  And another recipient of this scholarship, Beau Underwood, who graduated from the University of Chicago Divinity School, where Alex is now studying, now serves on the staff of National City Christian Church and on the staff of Faith in Public Life, where he works to organize congregations to make a difference in our society.  These two ministries and countless others are a legacy of these gifts that continue to express the generosity of those saints, who are resting from their labors.      

Generous giving in the past, the present, and the future, helps sustain the ministry and mission of this church.  We are blessed by many saints who have taken to heart this call to be lifelong, deliberate, and generous givers to the body of Christ and the communion of saints.  So aren’t you glad you’re one of the living saints living generous lives? 

Preached by:
Dr. Robert Cornwall
Pastor, Central Woodward Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Troy, Michigan
20th Sunday after Pentecost
October 29, 2011 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Words Matter -- A Sermon


1 Thessalonians 2:1-8


On more than one occasion Rial has said that “Words Matter.”   I think that what he means is that a word has a definition and we should pay attention to it.  I agree, but words also have nuances, and context often determines meaning, especially in the English language.   Now, I realize that you didn’t come to church today to get a lesson in English grammar, but I believe that Paul has something important to say about words in our text.  It’s not an issue of grammar or definitions, but whether our lives match our words.  

Because Paul was a traveling preacher, he was something of a talker, but unlike many other contemporary preachers of his day and ours as well, Paul was a straight-talker.  He said what he meant and meant what he said, and so people could have confidence in his message.  Paul’s own confidence in God’s calling on his life gave him confidence in his message as well.  Therefore, he had the courage to proclaim the good news of Jesus, even in the face of opposition, because he aimed to please God, not mortals.  

In doing this, Paul followed in the footsteps of Jesus, who also spoke with boldness and authority.  Both Paul and Jesus consistently confounded their critics, because whenever they tested them, they would walk in defeat or in anger.    

Paul’s confidence comes from his own sense of integrity.  He writes that when he spoke, he did so without deceit, flattery, or insincerity.  Because he had been tested by God, he didn’t fear any human being, and so the Thessalonians could trust his word.

As I think about Paul’s story, I can’t help but think of modern politicians, who have learned an important lesson.  They’ve learned that if you want to get elected or stay elected you have to tell people what they want to hear.  I don’t think most politicians are necessarily evil or deceitful people, but they learn quickly that we will reward them with our votes if they tell us what we want to hear.  So, if a politician tells you that they can keep the library open seven days a week at no extra cost, even if the librarian tells you that there’s not enough money in the budget to sustain that kind of service, many will believe the politician rather than the librarian.      

And, don’t you find it interesting that while only 15% of Americans like the way Congress is doing its job, we keep reelecting the incumbents?  Why is this?   I guess it’s because we seem to think that the problem is with the other representatives, not ours.    

Politicians who speak honestly, often are sent packing for home rather than head off for Congress.  That’s just the way it is.  Although people sometimes remember with great fondness Harry Truman’s alleged straight talk, as I remember from my reading of American history, he wasn’t all that popular in his own day!
  
Of course, what happens in politics happens in other areas of life – including church life.  It shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that prophets weren’t especially popular folks.  From Isaiah to Hosea to John the Baptist, prophets had a hard life, especially when they spoke truth to power.  I doubt Nathan was all that popular with David, after the prophet confronted him about his affair with Bathsheba and his complicity in the death of Uriah.  And you know what happened to John the Baptist and to Jesus.  No, we don’t reward those who speak boldly, especially when they say things that make us feel uncomfortable. 
    
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to say whatever comes to mind.  There are some things best left unsaid.  But, integrity is important.  Paul is comfortable enough with his own integrity that he feels comfortable offering himself up as an example.  This isn’t ego or bravado or arrogance.  He seems to have what one writer on leadership development calls “true self-confidence.”  In Paul’s case that was an inner sense of who he was before God.  It was this self-confidence that led people to trust him and his message.  Although he could have used his position for his own benefit, he chose not to do so. 
   
As I was thinking about what Paul was saying to the Thessalonian church, a slogan from my childhood came to mind.  Remember those Texaco commercials about trusting your car to the man who wore the star?  Now, I wasn’t driving back then, so I can’t give a testimony to the integrity of that slogan, but the idea is clear.  When you pull into a Texaco station, you can trust that attendant or the mechanic will do the right thing.  Well, Paul seems to be saying the same thing about himself.  

In making his claim for their attention, Paul offers us a look at the flip side of things.  Not only does he tell us who he is, he also tells us about what he’s not.  And there’s a word that sticks out in this letter.  It’s the word flattery.    

We all know what it’s like to flatter and be flattered.  We learn early in life that flattery will get us a lot of things.  Perhaps it will get us everything!  While this word is useful, I like one of the synonyms for flattery even better.  Don’t you love the word “obsequious?”   Doesn’t it sound absolutely slimy?  Even if you don’t know the meaning, you know it’s not a good thing to be obsequious.    

Flattery and obsequiousness are all about power.  We use flattery in order to get something we want, often by pretending that we like something or that we want to be friends.  In the end, however, we’re more concerned about gaining power than we are about that person.  Flattery is really about manipulation.  
  
In years past, before the women’s movement took hold, women weren’t allowed to have overt power.  In some places that’s still true.  But even though they couldn’t have overt power, many women gained power by manipulating the men in their lives  with their “feminine wiles.”    Remember that phrase – the “power behind the throne?”   In other words, you don’t have to be out front to have power, if you know how to play the game.  And what many women were taught is that men have three weaknesses.  They like to eat, they enjoy sex, and they need to have their egos stroked.  If you can cook, can offer them pleasure, and tell them how wonderful they are, then you can control a man, and get whatever you want in life.  

The textbook for this kind of “power” was written back in the 1970s by Marabel Morgan.  Some of you may remember her book, The Total Woman, which gave instructions on how to gain power through manipulation. One of her most famous suggestions to wives was that they might want to greet their husbands at the door wearing nothing but cellophane.   Well, my suggestion is that you better know who is at the door, if you decide to try this at home!    

It’s interesting that this book came out at the same time as the Women’s Movement was gaining steam.  It appealed to women who were afraid that equality might jeopardize their power.  This fear led many women to oppose women elders and women clergy.  If we all agreed that women and men are equal, then we’ll have to play by a different set of rules.   So if words matter, does the way we live give integrity to these words of ours?   As we consider this question, may we hear Paul’s appeal, his word of encouragement, and his plea that we live lives worthy of the God who called them and us to live in God’s kingdom and glory.

Preached by:
Dr. Robert D. Cornwall
Pastor, Central Woodward Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Troy, Michigan
19th Sunday after Pentecost
October 23, 2011
    

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Rejoicing in God's Strength

Philippians 4:1-13

Many of us, when we were children, learned stories about what we might call the heroes of the Bible.   If you’re like me, a male who grew up with Superman and Batman, you may have liked the ones about Samson, Gideon and David.  These guys are like super heroes who do great and wondrous things, often with seemingly superhuman strength, only they do it with divine power and not superpowers.  

Samson does great things in the name of God, but he’s also morally challenged.  He does bring down a temple with his bare hands, though he died in the incident.  As to the secret of his success, he apparently was the Fabio of his day, because his secret had something to do with his hair!

As for Gideon, he doesn’t have superhuman strength, but somehow he’s able to defeat the Amalekites whose troops numbered in the thousands with a small team of just 300 fighters.   Apparently God wanted Gideon’s enemies to understand that God was in the fight.

Then there’s the story David and Goliath.  David may have been too young to join the army, but he brought down the giant Goliath with nothing more than a sling shot.  In my memory, the pictures of Goliath make him out to be a Paul Bunyan-like figure, though the most reliable biblical texts put him closer to 6 foot 9.  That’s tall, but closer to Magic Johnson than Paul Bunyan. Still, that’s quite a fete for a young shepherd boy.

There are also women who figure prominently in the biblical story.  They may lack brute strength, but they possess courage and wisdom and they too accomplish great things.   There’s the story of Deborah who judges Israel and leads them in battle during a critical time when no man would step forward.  There’s Miriam, the sister of Moses and a prophet in her own right, who helps lead the people across the desert.  And Esther risks her life and her position in the court of the Persian king to protect her people.  They too act with the power of God within them.

The message in all of these stories is simple – extraordinary fetes can happen when one is acting within the power of God.   Or, as Paul writes to the Philippians:  “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”

Not only that, but Paul, writing from prison, can say to the community“rejoice in the Lord always.”  Although Paul isn’t claiming superhuman powers, he does invite us to live joyfully even during difficult times.  But, in spite this call to live joyfully in the Lord, many of us adopt the philosophy of the Stoics.  There are probably lots of Stoics in our world – perhaps you’re a Stoic and you didn’t even know it.  You could describe a Stoic as a person who has learned to endure life troubles.  That is, they have learned to “grin and bear it.”  They will endure, but there will be no joy.  Is that you?

Stoics are realists, but they’re also not the most pleasant people to be around.  Of course we may prefer them to the person who whistles a happy tune while pretending that nothing bad is happening to them or to the world around them.  We sometimes speak of such a person as one who’s living in denial.  Is that you?

Then there’s Chicken Little who is always complaining that the sky is falling.   Nothing good is ever going to happen in life.  Our best days are behind us and so we might as well find the bomb shelter and hide out until the end.  Is that you?

Paul is a realist, but he’s not a Stoic, doesn’t live in denial, nor is he a complainer.  What he is, is a person who can find joy in life even while being in prison.  Paul was no stranger to calamity, experiencing everything from shipwrecks to  beatings.  And if that isn’t enough, he tells the Corinthians that God has afflicted him with a “thorn in the flesh” that keeps him grounded after receiving visions and revelations (1 Cor. 12:7).

Paul knows what it’s like to live with nothing and with plenty, but he has also found a way of being content with where he’s at in life.  This is the source of his joy.  He has found his contentment in God’s presence.  Therefore, he can rejoice in all things and at all times, and can tell the Philippians not to be anxious, but instead take their concerns to God in prayer with thanksgiving – even when things aren’t going so well – sort of like what’s happening in our country right now.

I’ll make a confession here.  I struggle with this passage.  As much as I’d like to rejoice at all times, I get anxious about things and while I’m a fairly happy person, I have my moments.  I’ve known good times and not so good times, and I’ve come through okay, but I’m not always content nor do I rejoice at all times.  But then, I expect I’m in good company.

There’s a book that’s titled Flunking Sainthood.   Does that sound like you?  Have you tried yur best to be holy, to pray unceasingly, and take every problem to God in prayer with thanksgiving?  Are you an A+ or even a B+ student in sainthood?  Or, like me, do you struggle with your halo?  When it comes to sainthood, unless the bar is set really low, I think I fail to make the grade.  There are times, too many to count, where my mind focuses on things that are less than honorable and that aren’t necessarily commendable or excellent or worthy of praise.  

Whether or not we’ve reached perfection in this calling, Paul invites us to find joy even in the midst of difficult times and to do this we must think about life differently.  And the key seems to be moving away from a theology of scarcity to a theology of abundance.

When I talk about a theology of abundance, I’m not talking about a prosperity gospel where we name it and claim it and our dreams come true.  But, in a theology of abundance we stop thinking that there are limits to God’s presence, that there’s not enough of the Spirit to go around, so if you have some thing then there might not be enough for me.  This is true of power, money, and food.

There are a lot of hungry people in the world.  We’ll meet some of them when SOS comes to the church next weekend.  We know that people are hungry, but many of us throw away food or we eat more than our bodies can process?   Why is that?  Evolutionary biologists would tell us that this is part of genetic makeup, and we’ve not evolved enough to get beyond this fear of not having enough.  So, when we think that there’s not enough power or money to go around, we pull inward, and hoard what we have, and we ignore the common good.  But in this there is no joy.

Bruce Epperly spoke to this issue in his sermon a few weeks back.  More recently, in comments made about this passage, he has written:
Faith opens us to new dimensions of reality, in which we have all the resources we need to face the challenges of each day.  Amid bottom lines and apparent marginalization, faith sees evidence of God’s providence: a mustard seed becomes a great plant, five loaves and two fish can feed a multitude, and persecutors can become proclaimers.
So, when you look at the world through the eyes of faith, what do you see?  Do you see God at work opening up new possibilities?  Do you see the Spirit empowering people to do great things – maybe not superhuman fetes of strength, but great things?  Do you believe that there are enough gifts and resources present in this rather small congregation so that we might affirm the word that Paul gave to the Philippians from his jail cell?  “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”

In a moment we’ll dedicate the third of our new little ones.  We don’t know what the future holds for her.  There may be difficult times ahead.  But that’s life.   There will also be great opportunities for her to experience God’s presence and to live into God’s vision for her life.

And as for the rest of us, what will be the legacy we leave her?  What will be our witness?  Will it be one of abundance or scarcity?  Will we model for her and others a vision of reality that is full of joy and thanksgiving?  The choice is really ours.  If we take up God’s invitation, Paul says there will be peace and there will be joy in abundance!

Preached by:
Dr. Robert D. Cornwall
Pastor, Central Woodward Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Troy, Michigan
17th Sunday after Pentecost
October 9, 2011

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Bread of Life -- A Sermon for World Communion Sunday

John 6:41-51


Each Sunday Tim Morehouse mixes up some bread, which he hands to me at the end of the service so I can hand it off to a visitor.  It’s always hot bread, so with a little butter or without butter if that’s your choice,  one can make a meal of it on the drive home!  It’s offered as a sign of welcome and hospitality.  
  
While bread is a useful sign of hospitality, it’s also a sign of something much deeper.  Bread is often referred to as the staff of life.  Along with water, bread is the foundation of human existence, which is perhaps what Mahatma Gandhi meant when he said:   “There are people in the world so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”  This physical hunger is so powerful that it must be tended to if we’re to be open to anything else in life.

Remember how the people of Israel complained to Moses about the prospect of starving in the wilderness.  Slavery in Egypt was bad, but they wondered whether freedom was worth it if they were to die in the desert.  God answered their cries with manna and later with water from the Rock of Horeb.  With their most basic needs met they were now ready to continue their journey toward the promised land.    

But this physical bread, though it’s essential to our lives, it isn’t sufficient for abundant life.  As Jesus concluded his forty-day fast in the wilderness, he was famished, but when the tempter suggested that he could satisfy his hunger by turning stones into bread he answered:  “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4).  

If bread alone won’t satisfy our hunger, might it reveal Jesus to us?  It was the first day of the week -- just a few days after Jesus’ execution on a Roman cross.  Although there were rumors that he might be alive, these rumors weren’t enough for two of Jesus’ followers who were making their way to the town of Emmaus, wherever that was on the map.  Their heads were down, full of sorrow, because the one whom they believed would bring hope to their lives was dead.   But along the way they met up with a man, who didn’t seem to know what was happening in Jerusalem, but whose understanding of the scriptures brought peace to their hearts.  Then, as they broke bread together, their eyes were opened, and they realized that the one who had explained the scriptures was Jesus.  Breaking of the bread had served to open their eyes to the fullness of God’s presence in their midst. 

There is another story of bread that is found in all four gospels.  Remember how Jesus feeds the 5000 with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish.  The people’s hunger is satisfied, at least for the moment.  But in John 6 the people come looking for Jesus the next day.  Having been fed once, they’d like to make this a regular occurrence.  In exchange for bread, they’re willing to give their allegiance to Jesus and his cause.       

Jesus’ response doesn’t make the folks happy.  Instead of the bread they request he offers himself as the bread of life.  He invites them to feed on him, because the physical bread, while it might sustain us for a moment, it can’t sustain for eternity.  They are disappointed and even offended.  They seem to be caught up in the literal and can’t understand that while bread is important we can’t live on bread alone.  Jesus offers himself as the Word that sustains the spirit, bringing life in all its fulness.  There is the physical, but also the spiritual.  

When you hear these words “I am the Bread of Life,” what do you hear in them? 

In the Prayer of Great Thanksgiving, which is used by many Christian communities to consecrate the bread and wine for use in the Lord’s Supper, the celebrant says to the people:
Let us take this holy sacrament of the body and blood of Christ in remembrance that he died for us and feed on him in our hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.
Jesus says to the people who seek bread from him:   “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  Whoever eats this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”  And the liturgy of the Eucharist invites us to “Feed on him by faith with thanksgiving.”   

Do you hear an invitation to go deeper into the life of God by feeding on the bread that reveals to us God’s presence and purpose for the world?  This bread and this cup that are placed on the table of the Lord stand as a reminder that God is not far from us, but that God is with us and in us, empowering us and encouraging us so that we might continue the journey to the promised Land.  For this journey we will need the physical bread that will sustain our bodies, but we will also need spiritual bread to sustain our spiritual bodies.  This is especially true in times like these that are troubled and when we don’t always know where to turn.  I appreciate these words of Arthur Van Seters:  
The realities of suffering cry out for a deeper response, one that is energized and sustained by the God who came in suffering love as the Bread of life.*  
In  Jesus, who is the bread of life, whom we feed upon by faith, we find oneness with God, and this union with God through Christ serves to sustain us for the journey.    

Because this is World Communion Sunday we are reminded that millions of other Christians have heard the same invitation, and so as we join together at the Lord’s Table and partake of the Bread of Life, we find union with God and with one another.   Even as our lives are nourished by the Word of God who took flesh in the person of Jesus, and embodied God’s presence for us, we are united with one another as we gather around the Lord’s Table and share in his meal as the whole body of Christ on earth.  

On my blog I shared the story of the Marburg Colloquy, which was a council called by a German Prince who hoped to unite the young Protestant community.  They found a lot of areas to agree upon, but the two leading figures – Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli – couldn’t agree on the meaning of the Lord’s Supper.  This “disagreement” as to the meaning of the Eucharist had important consequences for the spread of the Reformation, and it reminds us that the table of unity too often becomes a place of division.  

But the table isn’t ours to control, and so in the Spirit of God’s presence we gather today around the One Table of the Lord, as the one body of Christ, inclusive of differences of  ethnicity, and we gather as male and female, young and old, gay and straight, rich and poor.  

It’s fitting that we take the Reconciliation Offering on World Communion Sunday, because this ministry of the Disciples seeks to not only educate people about racism, but it also helps build bridges between people who look different from each other.   

As we ponder the relationship between Reconciliation and the Lord’s Table, it may be fitting to remember that almost fifty years ago, the lunch counters in many parts of this nation remained segregated.  If you were black, you weren’t allowed to eat at the same counter as those who were white.  What was true of the lunch counter was also true of the churches.  And so in the moment of desegregation the bread that was a symbol of division became the sign of reconciliation.  It’s unfortunate that the lunch counters were desegregated before the churches, but the process had begun and it continues to this day.   

In the story of the Feeding of the 5000, what began as a perception of scarcity, becomes the story of God’s abundance.  When it comes to feeding on the bread of life, do you come to the table with a sense of scarcity or abundance?   Will you take a small bite or a big hunk of the bread of life into your body and spirit?   


*Arthur Van Seters in ,Preaching God's Transforming Justice: A Lectionary Commentary, Year B, Ronald J. Allen, et al, eds, (WJK, 2011), 350.

Preached by:
Dr. Robert D. Cornwall
Pastor, Central Woodward Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Troy, Michigan
World Communion Sunday
October 2, 2011