Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Beauty of a Loaf of Bread

Image result for loaves of bread

Every third Friday, several members of our congregation and I volunteer at the Como Mobile Food Pantry.  We help distribute healthy food to hundreds of our neighbors who are in need.  My job is typically to help carry the heavy boxes and bags of food to the cars of those who are unable to do so themselves.  I always enjoy meeting new people and learning a little about them as we walk together. 

Yesterday, one of the last people in the line was an elderly gentleman.  He took quite a bit of time at the last “station” which holds all the bread.  As we walked out to his car, he asked me if I had ever seen a loaf of bread and just thought about how beautiful it is.  He searches for beautiful loaves of bread when he can, and was very thankful to receive two loaves which he deemed beautiful.  It’s not the visual beauty that he is talking about, however.  He explained that the most beautiful part of a loaf of bread is its inherent cry to be shared with others.  He can’t eat a whole loaf by himself in one sitting, so he seeks out others who can break bread with him.  If he can’t find someone, he shares it with the birds.  They are all God’s creation, he explained, and he loves the fellowship that can be discovered over that shared bread.

I commented that there was a reason that Jesus broke bread that night in the Upper Room, and that we continue to do so today.  His face lit up.  “You get it,” he said.  When Jesus gathered his disciples together the night before he gave His life for all, he broke the bread and told them to eat “as this is my body, given for you.  Do it often in remembrance of me.”  We gather in houses of worship and partake in the sacrament of Holy Communion.  Today was a reminder that the breaking of bread and communion need not be limited to within the walls of the church, or in a liturgical context.  Communion can be had over shared meals, even when one is sharing with birds in the park. 

“Do this often in remembrance of me.”   

The Five & Two Food Truck ministry seeks to bring the living Christ out into the world.  As we meet our neighbors where they are and break bread with them, we are doing so much more than feeding the hungry.  We are proclaiming the beauty of a loaf of bread, the beauty of communion and fellowship and the beautiful Gospel message that Jesus loves them. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Five and Two

In the Gospel of Matthew, when Jesus and the disciples were faced with a crowd of over 5,000, the disciples told Jesus to send them all away to get food as it was getting late.  Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away.  You give them something to eat.”  When faced with what seemed like an impossible task of feeding so many in need, the disciples wanted them to fend for themselves.  Jesus had other plans, however.  He tested them. 

“You feed them.” 

In the Gospel of John, a small boy brought forth his meager five loaves and two fishes and offered them up to feed the huge crowd.  That boy had the faith that the disciples lacked at that time.  And with those five loves and two fishes, the crowds were fed.  There were twelve baskets of leftovers after all had their fill.

“You feed them.” 

When we look around at the number of homeless in our community, the thousands of children who do not know when their next meal may be, and the working families struggling to feed their families, it seems an impossible task to address these problems.   Arlington Heights UMC has heard the call to “give them something to eat.”  Through the Grace of God and the support of this congregation, we have been able to purchase a food truck.

“You feed them.”

                We have many dreams for this ministry, which include:

  • Feeding the homeless healthy meals at times where accessing meals are difficult.
  • Feeding children on free and reduced lunches healthy snacks and meals in the “gap times”
  • Providing VBS at city parks and community centers
  • Hosting cooking classes to help families on SNAP learn to prepare healthy meals for their families
  • Feeding first responders and victims of natural disasters

“You feed them.”

                I am pleased to announce that the Food Truck Ministry has a name: 

Five and Two:  A Street Food Ministry of Arlington Heights UMC. 

We are currently working on a logo design for the truck, and the Food Truck Ministry Advisory Board will be meeting tomorrow night to begin the planning process of putting the truck on the streets of our community.  We are asking for your prayers as we plan ways to make a difference in our community by bringing the church directly to those in need.

We have listened to God’s call on this church and are excited to respond by being the hands and feet of Christ in our community. 

“We will feed them.”