May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
On Monday evening, I hosted a potluck dinner at my house for people from Two Rivers who are interested in touring the Holy Land (stay tuned for more details... it looks like this trip is going to happen in Feb/March 2025!). As well as the excitement of planning an adventure, several people commented afterwards about just how good it was to share a meal together as a church family in a relaxed and informal setting.
The word "companion" literally means "one whom we share bread with" - the root "pan" meaning bread, and the prefix "com" meaning with. When we break bread together, we are companions.
Have you ever noticed how many stories in the bible involve food? In the Old Testament, we read about God feeding the Ancient Israelites with manna and quail in the wilderness. Jesus multiplied some loaves of bread and a couple of fish and fed a crowd of thousands. Jesus was always inviting himself into peoples houses to share a meal with them, or was accepting an invitation to share a meal, breaking bread with people from all different social classes and situations. Then there is what is perhaps his most famous meal, the Passover meal ("Last Supper") that he shared with his disciples on the night before he died. And after his resurrection, Jesus is recognized by two of his disciples walking the road to Emmaus in, you've guessed it, the breaking of bread.
Breaking bread together is one of the themes at the heart of our story of faith. We are a people who break bread together. (Which is one of the things that made Covid lockdowns so difficult... we continued to break bread together virtually, through livestreamed communion and Zoom meals with family; but we weren't able to gather together in the same physical place to break bread together. Sometimes it feels like breaking bread together is like a glue that holds community together.)
The bible story of that final Passover meal with his disciples records Jesus saying, as he broke the bread and gave it to his friends, "Do this in remembrance of me." (Luke 22:19) We usually interpret the "this" of this commandment to mean the communion meal, but I wonder if we can interpret it more broadly. Each time we break bread together, remember Jesus. (We might also say the same for water - each time water touches our skin, we remember our baptism - but that is a reflection for another day!)
This would mean that our potluck supper on Monday night was a meal in remembrance of Jesus. In a week and a half, when we gather for the church picnic, both the communion meal we will share in the worship part of the gathering AND the meal that we share in the potluck part of our gathering will BOTH be in remembrance of Jesus.
One of the best compliments that I could give a church is to say that it is a church that "knows how to eat well together." To me, that would describe a church that not only gathers regularly at the communion table, but a people who share meals together, both formally and informally. And all of this breaking of bread together becomes a glue, binding the people together as companions.
Moving on to announcements now:
Worship this Sunday will be the last in our summer series exploring the stories of women in the bible. We are going to be reading the story of Esther (which overlaps with the story of another woman, Vashti) and looking at how both women had the courage to stand up for what they knew was right. We are only going to be reading a short section of the overall story, but if you wanted to familiarize yourself with the whole story before Sunday, you can watch a 9-minutes summary by clicking here. Worship will be at 9:15 at Long Reach and 11:15 at Westfield and on Facebook Live; and as always, everyone is welcome!
Church Picnic - Sunday September 10, 11am, 100 Admiral Lane, Long Reach. We will break bread together at the communion table, then break bread together at the potluck table! We will also have a fun fair set up with games and activities for all of the children. (Note: we will not have a service at any of our church buildings that week, and we won't be livestreaming that week either.)
Broadview Magazine Discussion - Monday September 11, 10am, Westfield United Church Parlour. We will be discussing the September issue - even if you aren't a subscriber, you can read many of the articles online by clicking here.
Bible Study - after a summer break, we are going to be diving back into our wanderings through the Old Testament! Our first gathering will be n Wednesday September 13 at 10am in the parlour at Westfield United Church, and we'll pick up the story where we left off in May, with the Ancient Israelites about to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land.
Sunday School will be resuming during worship at Long Reach and Westfield on Sunday September 17!
School Supplies for MCS - as in previous years, Bayswater-Summerville and Long Reach are going to be collecting school supplies for MacDonald Consolidated School in Kingston between now and September 17. For a list of supplies that they need, you can click here. (Westfield people - if anyone wanted to donate school supplies, you can drop them off with me and I will transport them over to the peninsula for you.)
Vacation Bible School - thank you to everyone who helped us last week! We had 31 children (and 6 adults) for a fun day by the river exploring the Holy Spirit.
Church in the World - this is the committee that coordinates our outreach work as a pastoral charge - everything that we do as the church that is spreading God's love beyond the boundaries of our church. We are planning to have a meeting in a couple of weeks' time to coordinate our work for the upcoming year. If this is the sort of churching that interests you, you are welcome to attend our meeting (exact date to be confirmed)! Just talk to our committee co-chairs (Bette Ashley and Anne Titus) or to me, and we'll make sure that you get the information.
Session and Official Board - Wednesday September 20 at Long Reach United Church (Session at 6:30; OB at 7:30). Committee Chairs: I'm sure that Ross and Stacey are going to come looking for your your reports at some point in the next couple of weeks, so you might want to start thinking about them now!
Dungeons & Dragons - a few weeks ago, I mentioned that our Youth and Young Families Ministry Coordinator was interested in organizing an inter-generational D&D campaign for beginners (ie no D&D experience is necessary). Dungeons & Dragons is a collective storytelling, role-playing table-top fantasy game, that is known for being inclusive and supportive of its players and communities. If any of those words pique your interest, or if you are curious to try D&D in a learning environment, you can contact Ken at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
With lots of announcements this week, I know that September must be drawing closer!
For a closing thought this week, this morning I opened up my inbox and saw that Nadia Bolz-Weber (a radical Lutheran pastor in the US) was reflecting this week on the same story that we read on Sunday in church - the story of a woman who was healed after being bent over for 18 years. (The coincidence is even stronger because I'm not following the lectionary over the summer, so it's not like the same story was being read all around the world this week.) Some of her thoughts on the story overlap with my thoughts, but then she takes it in a slightly different direction. If you want to read her beautiful and powerful reflection, you can click here. (And if you want to read my reflection, a reminder that I post my sermons each week on my blog which you can access by clicking here.)
Blessings to you and yours, today and always!
Rev. Kate Jones Two Rivers Pastoral Charge (506) 757-2201 (office) (506) 343-1307 (mobile) www.tworiverspastoralcharge.com Pronouns: she/her/hers "Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the law?"
Jesus replied, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "You must love your neighbour as you love yourself."