Prepare: Bring an apple and some apple candy, or a banana and some banana candy, etc. For the worship station you will just need the people in the room and maybe a white board or a good computer operator to throw ideas up onto the screen, unless you are an ELCA church that is participating in the ELCA Day of Service on September 13, 2015. If this is the case, you will need some sign-up sheets!
OK, candy tastes really good to most of us, but what does it really do? If you eat to much all at once you get a stomach ache. If you eat candy every day you might rot your teeth. If ALL you eat is candy you won’t be very healthy!
What about this fruit? It tastes good, too. I suppose if you eat too much all at once you might not feel too good either, but that might be because you are full of food! Eating fruit every day isn’t bad for your teeth, really (you still need to brush), and if ALL you ate was fruit you might be OK, certainly better than only candy!
Jesus is talking about food again this week, but this time he s saying things that might make us think about communion. He is talking about flesh and blood and the true food and drink. He has been talking about himself as the true bread from heaven and his blood as the true drink. Which is really why I brought the candy and the apple. The candy tastes like an apple, but it really isn’t an apple. The candy is mostly just sugar. It tastes good and is a nice treat sometimes, but it really doesn’t do us any good. The apple, on the other hand, is sweet, but also full of good vitamins and fiber, things that help us to be healthy!
Jesus is saying kind of the same thing – if you want your spirit to be healthy you need to feed it with real spiritual food, you need to feed it with the words and actions of Christ. Communion is part of that, so is worship, and so is service to others! This whole conversation that Jesus is having today started when he and his disciples feed all of these people with a few fish and loaves, and now Jesus is offering a completely different kind of meal. He is offering a meal for their spirits, encouraging them to listen to the good news, spread the word and to help each other!
Jesus, Bread from Heaven, fill us with your good news, with you love, and with your grace. Send us out to be your hands and feet in the world so that we may find ways to feed those in need of real food, in need of real shelter and in need of real grace. Amen.
ELCA Day of Service – if you are doing a day of service event in September take some time to highlight the event. Maybe even have someone from whatever organization you plan to work with come and talk for a couple minutes. Encourage people to sign up, or put it on their calendar. If you have the means you can even show Bishop Eaton’s video!
If you are not an ELCA congregation, or you are not doing the Day of Service – take a few minutes for a whole congregation brainstorming session! I have found that it is good to have a few “plants” in the congregation when you do this. Talk to one or two people ahead of time about what you are going to do, then have them speak up first from where they are to get the ball rolling. Ask them about needs in your wider community (outside your church), things that the church should be doing, or could be doing. See if you can get a spark going for creating your own service day for you congregation to go out and help in your community!