As I sat along the marathon route in Wellesley on Monday, a man walked up to the route without a chair or blanket or snacks. He was clearly not planning on staying long. About fifteen minutes later he erupted into cheers. “Go Jennifer!” “That a-way Jen!” “You can do it!” “You’re amazing!” A runner turned to him and smiled. And then he started running – apparently to get the next spot where he could cheer on his wife.
There was a woman next to us who seemed indefatigable. As runners came by she shouted out to them – and at first I thought she knew their names. She didn’t. She was calling out whatever she saw on their jerseys. “Go Canada!” “Yay Smith!” “Mexico rocks!”
Across the street were some experienced spectators. They had noisemakers and signs in abundance. “You’re almost there!” “Keep going!”
Whether we’re running a marathon or simply living one, all of us need people in our corner, people who will cheer us on, people who will encourage us when we’re thinking we might just give up.
So it’s cheers to the cheerleaders! May you have one. May you be one.
Fifty is a very good number in Scripture. The festival of Pentecost (a word meaning “fiftieth”) comes on the fiftieth day after Easter. It commemorates the arrival of the Holy Spirit and the sending of the disciples into the world.
Fifty is a good number.
Our social ministry team has set a goal of 50 people to send out into the world in service in the coming week. Every year, the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) encourages congregations to set aside some special time to be church in service to the community. We are encouraged to remind ourselves and tell our friends and neighbors that that it is “God’s Work Our Hands.”
This year at Faith, we have a number of opportunities for service between October 9 and 18. You can help tie fleece blankets for those who are homeless, help build a bed for a toddler in need, support Afghan refugee families, clean up Stanley Reservation in Andover, work on a home with Habitat for Humanity, and prepare or distribute a meal at Bread and Roses.
There is a certain spirituality about baking bread.
Flour. Salt. Yeast. Milk. Butter. The ingredients are simple but they come together and are transformed into food that satisfies our hunger.
What are the ingredients of your life that most feed your soul?
It is rare to make a loaf of bread and eat it oneself. Bread is meant to be shared.
How do you share your life with others?
Bread breaks. It crumbles – often despite our best efforts. And yet, the crumbs do not lose their ‘bread-ness.’ They can’t be put together exactly as they were before, but they have the power to feed us yet.
How have past experiences of brokenness ended up feeding you?
Jesus broke bread with the oddest of companions (the word ‘companion’ literally means ‘to break bread together’). He broke bread with his friends but also with strangers, enemies, cheaters, those of questionable reputation, and I could go on and on. He knew that breaking bread together was a spiritual practice – it drew the gathered into a deeper communion with each other and with God.
Each week we gather together in worship and break bread together. It is a spiritual practice. It draws us into a deeper communion with God and with each other.
I am also looking forward to breaking bread with many of you at the Women’s Retreat at Camp Calumet October 22-24. (Other details are available in Forward with Faith – or you can send me an email.)