In my congregation, food has always been very important. We like to share meals after worship together. We have an annual chili and pie cook off. We have big engagement on ministries that address hunger and food insecurity. We bring meals to families with challenges. We love Holy Communion as we come forward to accept our places at God’s table, with all the costs and joys of that discipleship.
For as prominent as bread is in our faith rituals and communal life together, I’ve delved shockingly little into the topic. I’ve heard so many times that Christ’s prayer for “daily bread” was asking for basic provision for all. I’ve never realized that, in Jesus’ time, daily bread was an extravagance reserved only for the wealthy. I’ve preached about how Jesus compared himself to this common, everyday thing, bread. Just sustenance, survival. But that is what bread has become over a couple thousand years. That’s not what bread was for Jesus. Bread was such a communal gift. If you want to engage the bread of Jesus’ time and what it means for us today, try Let Love Rise.
Writing, preaching and worshiping this series deepened my own faith and challenged me to think again about so many things I take for granted in Christianity. In addition to the meaningful reflections on theology and scripture, this series was also very accessible and practical for our worshiping community. It helped us all understand better our common practices like the Lord’s Prayer and Holy Communion. It gave us an opportunity to hear from the bakers and cooks among us about their craft and why it is meaningful to them. We have a person who bakes our communion bread every week and a youth who started a home bakery for racial justice who both shared their experiences. Our children could engage by trying to grind wheat or watching as yeast activated in water.
If you are looking for an innovative worship series, then I encourage you to try Let Love Rise. Holly and I put everything in this bundle that we used in our own congregations. In addition to our usual liturgies, planning guide, and branded and sized images for the series and each week, we have added a huge list of suggested contemporary readings and additional materials, a folder of unsplash free images (no searching for you!), a set of interactive worship stations, video recordings of our own sermons, a four-week adult discussion series with PowerPoint slides based on the weekly themes and Michael Pollan’s book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, and MORE.
Join the journey of transformation this lent from a small seed planted to the Bread of Life!