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July 31, 2015

Six Weeks of Bread: Preaching John 6

by Amy Reumann, LAMPa Director

In my parish ministry years, every third August would bring the lectionary cycle that assigned several weeks of back-to-back readings about bread, many from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John. Each week’s texts featured miraculous multiplications, manna in the wilderness, Jesus the bread of life and of course the body of Christ in the Eucharistic. But really, how much could anyone say about bread? I seemed to run through all my good stories, metaphors and interpretations by the end of the second week. I even know pastors who intentionally scheduled vacation during the John 6 sequence. It is possible I did so myself.

Now that I work so closely with issues of hunger and food insecurity, I don’t think I could ever run out of things to say about bread, both the world’s need for the bread of Christ and for our daily bread. So no I look at these weeks as an invitation to dive deep into the scandal of hunger and its root causes in our land of plenty. And I urge preachers to take one of these weekends to talk about hunger close to home, the hunger in our communities in Pennsylvania, and ask why it is so hard for some people to get the food they need and lay out and our call as Christ’s people to respond through service and advocacy.

Most preadaily breadchers already have their go-to websites for sermon help. But these next weeks add in some other resources as you discern the Gospel message.

Want to know more about hunger in your community? See food insecurity data for your county at the PA State of Hunger report.

See those numbers? Make them real through stories. If you don’t have a story yourself talk to those who volunteer in hunger ministries about what they see and where they see Christ in their work. Or view films like “A Place at the Table” (available on Netflix or individual clips like Rosie’s Story on Youtube) or video clips about the work of ELCA World Hunger.

Preach about hungry people not as a “them” but as an us. I rarely lead a congregational presentation on hunger without a member of that church telling me privately about their struggle to eat…and often their shame in admitting it to fellow congregants.

Access more data on the LAMPa Hunger Resources page, which includes curricula, Pa-specific information and handouts on the Economic Cost of Hunger, Senior Hunger, Child Hunger, and Impact of Hunger on Health.

Explore the connections between justification and justice, the meal of the Eucharist and World Hunger.

Finally, link your worship to advocacy, by taking part in support for federal Child Nutrition Reauthorization – check out the LAMPa page for resources, postcard campaign materials and support for engaging around this critical tool to address infant and child hunger.

 

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