September 5, 2021
Sharing the Bread
NOTE – On September Fifth, we used an adapted form of the Love Feast to focus on Communion. The service invites personal reflection and testimonies. For this day there are three of them – we have created separate pages for each.
AN APPEAL FOR THE PEOPLE’S PANTRY: Cindy Brown
I’m Cindy Brown, and I’m speaking to you today as a member of our congregation’s Board of Mission & Action.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is in Matthew. Jesus told the disciples that when he comes in his glory, he will say, “Come, inherit the kingdom; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.” Then they will ask, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty, and gave you food and drink?” And Jesus answers, “Just as you did it to one of the least of these, who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:31-46)
And all four gospels tell the story of Jesus feeding a crowd of 5,000 men (plus women and children!) with two fish and five loaves of bread. He blessed and broke the loaves, and it became enough to feed everyone, with 12 baskets full of leftovers. (Matthew 14:13-21)
And in today’s Scripture in Luke, two of Jesus’ followers are on the road to Emmaus when they unknowingly meet the risen Christ. They stop together for a meal, and he is made known to them in the breaking of the bread. (Luke 24: 28-35)
We have been given the opportunity to share our bread, this bread (of communion), this bread that Jesus has shared with us. Jesus wants us to go out and bless and multiply the loaves,
and share the bread with all who need it.
For many years now, our congregation has been helping to support the People’s Pantry at St. James’ Place in Great Barrington. The Pantry provides food, free of charge to anyone who comes to their door, each Monday and Thursday. They offer locally sourced meat, milk, eggs, fresh vegetables and fruit, and yes, bread.
The number of people who are served by the Pantry has doubled during the pandemic. They provide food for at least 200 people each week. And the numbers keep growing.
Our church has people that volunteer at the Pantry, including Anne Hutchinson (who is pretty much in charge of the Pantry now), Diane Piraino, Ted Randolph, Nancy Wilcox, Margaret Hornick, Holland and Don Eaton, Charlotte Rodgers, Cathy Clark, Terry Wise, myself, and many more. Some of us work inside the pantry serving the food, and some of us drive people there, or deliver to the homebound.
Besides providing volunteers, for a long time our church has been contributing non-perishable food and money to the People’s Pantry, especially on communion Sundays as our Active Prayer of Thanksgiving. Last year, our congregation donated an amazing $14,000 to the Pantry. This year so far we have donated only $1,400. I think that this is because communion Sundays have been our biggest single way of collecting, and this has been challenged due to the pandemic, and we’ve gotten out of the habit.
So the Board of Mission and Action would like to encourage everyone to get back in the habit, and remember to donate to the People’s Pantry through our church. You can donate on the church website, choosing the Food Pantry on the drop down menu. Or you can mail a check to the church, with People’s Pantry on the memo line. And those of you who are in the sanctuary today can leave cash or a check in the baskets at the doors. And you don’t have to wait for communion Sundays. You can donate through the church at any time.
AND the Mission & Action Board has voted to match your donations up to $1,000, so you can double your offering!
We may not be feeding 5,000, but we are helping to feed at least 200, week after week. We can bless, and break, and multiply, and share those loaves, and come to know Christ more fully in the breaking of the bread.