Weekly Words of Wisdom 1-27-21

Sermon 1-24-21       The Rev Jen Van Zandt  

Luke 5:1-11

Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” 11 When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.”

The Hazards of Fishing

Perhaps some of you are familiar with the show Deadliest Catch.  If not, it’s a genre of reality TV in which four to six commercial fishing boats, most of which are more than a hundred feet in length, fish for crab in the very dangerous Bering Sea.  It’s one of the most dangerous professions.  But when the fishing is good, it’s also one of the most lucrative.  

There are many interesting aspects to this show, and it reminds me of our text in the ebb and flow of emotions by the captain and crew as they set the first pots in the ‘string’. Some of the crew will cross themselves or kiss a crucifix or some other talisman;  some start to cheer like a kickoff at a football game; others light up a cigarette and raise their eyes or their hands to the sky in hopes of a big catch.  It’s quite another scene, however, when they return to their string with hopeful anticipation that their pots will be filled to the brim of the right kind and the right size crab. And when they’re not, and there’s pot after pot of nothing but water, the mood turns dark and dismal.  More cigarettes are lit by the captain and crew; complaints (often filled with expletives that are bleeped out) start to fly; and, if it goes on long enough, even brawls break out, especially when they’ve been out to sea for a while. They’re exhausted.  They’re away from their families.  They’re also probably worried that the empty pots further their inability to pay bills and debts.

The story in Luke seems far more docile than this.  So maybe this is the wrong comparison. You know… the more I think about it…Deadliest Catch is actually more of what our lives have felt like for the last 10 months. We’ve been enduring increasingly intense emotions, hopes and frustrations of awaiting vaccines, hoping it will lead to decreasing new cases and deaths, which eat away at us as they continue to rise and increase. We’re being forced to live in confined spaces without physical connection to friends and family.  We worry about our own health and safety and everyone is…‘in the same boat’. Also, we have to find ways to think about others who are less fortunate–who don’t truly know how they’re going to pay their bills.  We’re lighting cigarettes or other destructive habits to manage our stress and our boredom.  And even disagreements and arguments probably break out, because we’ve been living in confined spaces, sharing the same internet connection and seeking to find sanity while everyone is home from school and work.  Alright…you get the rest of this parallel.  We’re looking for sanity.  We’re looking for hope.  So what is there to garner from this story, because this story seems, again, so pleasant and so docile from what we’re living in now or from what happens on Deadliest Catch.  

So what’s the invitation?  What are the claims of this text?  Well, the first one is that Jesus is calling on Simon Peter, (and on us), to look beyond our own plight, our disappointments and even our fears to a future that will be different, but abundant again.  At a deeper level, Jesus is calling Simon Peter, (and us), to a place of obedience versus our complaining, our fear and our faithlessness.  Simon Peter states the nature of his disappointment and probably also frustration and fear.  I mean, after all, fishing is his livelihood. But when Jesus instantly commands Simon Peter to do it differently, Simon Peter obeys.  Beverly Roberts Gaventa, who is a scholar on Luke, says “Peter obeys even though it actually, seems ridiculous”.  This is also the same dynamic we explored in Advent with both Mary and Joseph, who didn’t debate with God, who didn’t resist, but submitted to God’s will.

The third claim of this text is also acknowledging our sinfulness.  Not everybody is comfortable with that.  Not everybody’s comfortable with that claim or even stepping up and actually doing it.  But without an honest confrontation and conversation with God, our relationship with God stays one dimensional and also very transactional.

The fourth and final point is the invitation by Jesus to actually actively participate in his ministry.  To choose and embrace and be part of God’s redemptive purposes.  So what does that look like?  I can hear you already saying from home, “Well, how can we do that? We can’t even leave the house.” Well, some of it may be obvious and some of it may be new because of where we find ourselves.  So here’s just a small list to get you started. As Amanda talked about, the Lenten devotional is underway.  It’s a great and a very low risk opportunity that you can do from your very homes to actively participate in God’s redemptive purposes.  This year’s theme is “Love Thy Neighbor”; something we all desperately need to keep exploring as Christians and as citizens of the world.  You may have had a chance to enjoy services, at least the Christmas Eve service that people continue to rave about.  That takes a lot of time and a lot of talent, and we need as many of you to step up and offer your gifts of technology, or music, or planning, or to consider being a lay reader, or even just giving new ideas to the very small group of people who continue to make worship possible each week.

Christian Ed has been struggling to figure out how to reach out to our youth and our children in a way that is not just one more Zoom meeting.  We’ve had some success, but not nearly enough to keep our kids, our youth and their families connected.  There are things that you can do to help Sandy–take the work and burden off of her in ways that are simple that you can do from your home, like helping her keep up with weekly documentation of sermons, the hymns and texts that we use. There are so many things. Even helping the deacons with correspondence for those who are sick or grieving or alone.

So, my friends, there is a lot that we can do while we are waiting to come back to the shore, to this wonderful place that we call our home. First, is to be open and honest with God and fall on your knees, all of our knees, and confess where we fail to be loving and kind.   There are ways in which we can actively think through how to bring more evangelism to our community and to our world.  And there are ways in which we can truly help the church and Jesus Christ “fish” for more people.  May it start today.  May it start here.  And may it start now.  Amen.

Weekly Words of Wisdom 1-20-21

Sermon 1-17-21     The Rev Jen Van Zandt                                                     

Psalm 139:1-10

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it. Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.”

Romans 8:31-39

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

What Then Shall We Say?

As we try to sort through the horrific events at the capitol last week, whilst being deeply preoccupied by threats and protests and violence at every state capital this Sunday (we’re obviously pre-recording this), we await with anxious hearts over a peaceful and safe transition of power.  We’re also awaiting with anxious hearts as to when the vaccine will be available; when our children and grandchildren can return safely to school; when we can go back to our offices, have larger family events; and, of course, gather again safely to worship.  As Paul writes, “What can we say about all these things?”  Just to be clear, I am intentionally taking this out of context, because I’ve been pondering this verse in light of all that we have endured, and are enduring, and will have to endure a while longer.  What do we say about all these things that continue to be unfathomable?  Rarely does a week go by when someone asks me, “Do you think this is actually part of God’s plan?”  

While there are certainly plenty of religious and political leaders who believe that the death and this destruction from Covid and abuse of power is seen as ‘righting wrongs’ and ‘teaching people a lesson’, that surely is not Presbyterian theology and certainly not mine.  It’s also not the Gospel, especially highlighted in these two particular texts.  Psalm 139 is the clearest example of the most intimate connection between the psalmist and God.  It’s also unique in other ways as well.

First, the psalmist actually doesn’t ask for anything, well until the very end. Most psalms, as you know, are pleas for God’s intervention to stop something, provide for something, or fix or reverse the psalmist’s plight or to eschew and actually destroy all enemies of self and God.  And that’s why they’re also beloved. They give voice to the things that we are thinking and feeling and even saying.  

So why Psalm 139 today when so many other psalms may be apparently a better fit?  Maybe at first glance.  Just hang in with me. Instead of jumping right into the petition or supplication which in layman’s terms means a prayer of “Please God help me heal or help someone else”, this psalmist is able to step away from the chaos of all that distracts and actually ponder out loud, at a deeper level: the joy, the relief, the miracle and the true mystery of God’s constant, unconditional, unending and comforting presence.  That’s not something that many of us are prone to, especially in the anxious life and times we are living now.

Verses one through six particularly lay out the multi-dimensional presence of God–a presence that’s not a hovering God, like a parent or a teacher, standing over us to see if we’re doing our homework or misbehaving. No, this presence is like a gentle but constant breeze that warms our faces, swirls in our hair and brings us fresh oxygen to breathe (without masks!).  This presence is not something we have to ask for.  It is already given.  It is part of the covenant that God made with Israel and us; that Yahweh would be our God and we would be God’s people.

In modern terms, the difference between hopingGod will do something and understanding God’s presence is a simple word and it’s laced all throughout this psalm.  KNOW.  This psalmist knowsand trusts and relies and celebrates this inexplicable mystery of this gift of God’s presence.  But knowing God’s presence is with us can make all the difference in how we act and react to news of any sort. Let me share a real-time example. 

As I was writing this sermon, I got a phone call.  I don’t usually ever answer my phone or even have it nearby to avoid any and all distractions, but I answered it because it’s the hospital where my father currently is and has been since Tuesday. The Dr. tells me that he’s in a surgical suite and they’re looking for internal bleeding. I’ll be told the outcome of that later today.  And when I immediately got off the phone, I started that rapid-fire prayer that begins with, “Please God, please God, please God…”

I noticed my stomach was clenched. I was rubbing my forehead. I was holding onto my phone with a death grip. Then I caught myself.  I took in a deep breath. I sat back in my chair, and remembered the very psalmist’s words. I drank in the presence of God, who knows completely more than I do, of what I’m fearing and what I need, because God looks beyond even those all too familiar human emotions.  God looks beyond all of that, deep into our hearts.  In that moment I felt surrounded by God and held by God in God’s grasp.  My friends, this does not mean that the test results will be what I want and need them to be, but what it does mean is that God’s presence will sustain me regardless.

In Romans 8, Paul fleshes this out even further and speaks even more aptly to the multiple world and national crises we are dealing with. “What then shall we say to these things? I am convinced that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Friends, these words are a gift to us in this day.  They will be a gift to us in the days and weeks and months ahead.   But, friends, we have to turn over our control.  We have to turn over our fear.  We have to turn over all things that get in the way of us actually sitting and noticing and allowing God’s presence to shower over us and give us the peace, the peace that passes all human understanding.  That is a gift that comes from God. Thanks be to God! Amen.

Weekly Words of Wisdom 1-13-21

Sermon 1-10-21  –   Rev Jen Van Zandt 

Matthew 3:13-17

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him.  John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”  But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.”  Then he consented.  And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

Seeking and Following

            In the normal rhythm of the church calendar (and the usual rhythm of our church today), as we honor and celebrate the baptism of the Lord, we would also joyfully be ordaining and installing our new officers and sending them on a path to do the challenging and meaningful work of the church.  Being ordained and serving the church is truly a tremendous privilege.  Fourteen years ago to this day, I arrived here to begin the work of my call–a month before, I, too, would be ordained. In another few hours, I will also have the great privilege of preaching at the installation of the new pastor at the Morris Plains Presbyterian Church.   And, ironically, he comes from serving my home church in Caldwell.

            For those of you who have never had the privilege of being ordained or installed or even related to someone who has, you know it is a tremendous honor.  It calls for trust, discipline, faithfulness and courage to make hard decisions, to debate and discuss challenging situations with an open mind. It calls for patience and, above all, respect for one another in the call of Ordination.   When those characteristics and behaviors get lost, the mission and the ministry, the work of the church gets stalled and lost. The body becomes weak and spiritually adrift.

            I want to thank all the officers currently serving, those who have just finished terms, those who have yet to begin their service, and those who have actually taken additional terms–either now or in the past–to keep this church, this ship, healthy and strong.  It is because of you that this church has done, and continues to do, mighty acts in the name of Christ; for the homeless, the nameless, the grieving, and the sick. It is because of you that youth and children learn about the love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit to do amazing things even among the youngest and newest believers.  

            And while much of what we treasure and miss is being held at bay, it doesn’t mean that God’s spirit and God’s activity is being held at bay.  Even though we are not together, it’s just being manifested differently. As long as we continue to have strong, capable and faithful leaders, driven by the conviction of serving others in the name of Christ, this community of faith will continue to be a beacon of hope, a place for peace and renewal, a place where everyone has a seat at the table:  the Communion table, the table of Christmas dinners, the table of soup and chili cook-offs, the table in the library where officers gather as one voice to uphold the Gospel in their calling.  

            Our texts today reinforce and firmlyremind us what servant leadership is and whom we serve and for what purpose. The servant, Jesus, chosen by God, is to bring justice to all the nations; the servant is to bring justice and peace, not through force or aggression, but by example of mercy, equity and light.

            The events in Washington this week and all that continues to unfold couldn’t be further from God’s purposes, to put it mildly.  The work of doing justice is not just for the faint of heart in any setting.  Walter Brueggemann, who is an expert in the book of Isaiah and a well-known Old Testament scholar, says that the servant in Isaiah 42  “…is deeply conflicted; it is a high-risk matter, but the servant does not proceed with force or high-handed authority. God’s justice is brought gently, cheerfully, and caringly. The servant has respect for persons who are weak, fragile and in jeopardy”.

            My friends, what we witnessed this week was not only a failure of certain leadership, but a blatant disregard for all that we hold dear and sacred.  The call on our lives as servant leaders is not only for those who are public servants and elected officials or elected officers within God’s church.  It calls on all of us to fight for justice and uphold the Gospel.  It is our duty to uphold God’s purposes and to be the people, not of darkness, but of light; not of oppression, but freedom; not of tyranny, but transcendence.  The only way that is possible is if we have the courage to follow our servant leader and do the difficult work: to pay attention to God’s voice proclaiming who we are to follow, who we are to listen to, who we are to be led by, and who we can become fearless of.  

            I pray that peace reigns today and in the days and weeks to come.  But regardless of what happens next, know that we will be held together by our faithfulness, by our baptism, by our table and by a servant who has the sovereign power over not only the church, but all of creation and is about to do a new thing.  May it be so. Amen.

Weekly Words of Wisdom 1-6-21

Sermon 1-3-21      The Rev Jen Van Zandt 

Luke 2:40-45

The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.  Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover.  And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival.  When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.  Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey.  Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends.  When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.  After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.  And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.  When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this?  Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” He said to them, “Why were you searching for me?  Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.  His mother treasured all these things in her heart.  And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years and in divine and human favor.”

Under God’s Care

In this unique and singular account of Jesus’ early years, we get a brief look at Jesus in all of his humanity as a teenager.  It is the only glimpse that we have of him between his birth and the beginning of his adult life as a future prophet, priest and king. People often ask me why we don’t know much about his life; or really anything at all before he begins his journey.  The fact is that besides knowing that he was a carpenter by trade, the answer, in short, is it really doesn’t matter all that much. I’ll come back to this later.

But here, Luke doesgive a helpful bridge at least between infancy and adulthood and there’s a bit of humor, I think, in seeing his humanity in his adolescence.  There’s also perhaps some comfort for us as parents, as well as the teenager in all of us, when we see and hear these classic struggles and dynamics between a parent and child; the parents going in one direction and the teen making his own different and separate choice.  And then the tension ensues.  I’m sure that was the case in my family, and it may have been in yours as well.

At first blush, this story pulls at one’s heartstrings with both compassion for the frantic parents, who have just realized their son is not among them and the poor child who has been forgotten or left behind in the chaos of the holiday caravan.  It has all the great makings of a movie.  Oh, wait a second… there wasa movie about this.  You know what I’m talking about.  Yes, my friends, this is the story of Home Alone.  

Although it’s not an exact replica, there are some striking similarities.  Catherine O’Hara, who plays the mother in Home Alone, shows us the utter hysteria and guilt that a parent feels when separation is realized.  And John Heard, who plays the father, typically, is downplaying the mother’s anxiety and trying to calm her down through logic.  

Where the plot separates between the story in Luke and Home Aloneis that unlike the adorable Macaulay Culkin, who plays the forgotten child, Jesus is a teenager or what we would call a ‘tween’ now.  And it’s unclear from Biblical historians whether Jesus was formally bar mitzvahed at this point or not.  But clearly, he is wise beyond his years and has chosen to be among the priests and the religious leaders.  While we can appreciate the dialogue between the frantic and angry parent and a snarky teen (which comes out clearly in this text), it also points to a far more important message.  Jesus, at the age of 12 is fullyaware who his father is… and it’s notJoseph.

Mary exclaims, “Son, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.” And Jesus’ retort can be seen as snark coming from a teenager.  But, more deeply, he’s saying, “Why don’t you getthe fact that I mustbe in my Father’s house?” His parents are utterly confounded and Jesus is left feeling and being misunderstood.  Ultimately, Jesus complies and leaves with his parents and they return to their home while Mary, for a second time, is pondering these things in her heart.  I bet she pondered.  You know the real reason why we don’t hear about Jesus again until he’s thirty? It’s because she groundedhim for about twenty years!  

But seriously, this story, even though it’s not in the lectionary, must not be glossed over.  In this story, we have a crucial glimpse into Jesus’ full humanity as well as his remarkable wisdom and understanding of who God was to him and to the rest of humanity. Further it’s a helpful bridge between an infant king and what comes next literally–next week is his baptism as an adult.  Most importantly, this is a story that sets in motion God’s story and God’s activity.

In the story of the world, here is a story of the beginning of God’s redemption. Now, more than ever, as we wait with increasing fear and impatience to be set free from the prison of Covid and all that has been put on hold and cancelled and lost; as people around the world wait and pray and try to sustain one another as our lives continue to be forever changed and lost; this is a message of God ‘on the way’. This message of us being under and in God’s care,needs to be highlighted.

I happened to see Home Aloneon the television maybe three or four months ago and I decided to watch it all the way through. The part of the story that I forgot was the redemption in the plot.  Macaulay Culkin, who is terrified by his next-door neighbor who looks like an old creepy, dangerous man, ends up bumping into him when Macaulay Culkin goes off to church, seeking comfort, seeking peace.  And in the church is that very scary next-door neighbor. It takes a while for them to connect and they end up sitting together.  And in that moment, Macaulay Culkin sees the humanity, the brokenness, and the loneliness of this man, because he’s all alone for Christmas, just like Macaulay Culkin.  And, in that moment, we see the story of hope and redemption.  

You’ve all seen this movie, so it’s not a spoiler alert, but go back and watch it, because on a very snowy day, as Macaulay Culkin’s parents and family return home and embrace him; so, too, the next-door neighbor’s family comes from far away and surprises him to give him strength and courage.  My friends, God’s story of redemption starts now and we need this message now more than ever.  So go back to the text and look at it again for yourself and know that hope and help really is on the way.

Newton Presbytery: A Story of Peace

On World Communion Sunday, back in October, a handful of congregations in Newton Presbytery participated in the special offering for Peace and Global Witness.  From the PCUSA website: “Through the Peace & Global Witness Offering, congregations are encouraged and equipped to find and address the anxiety and discord that is prevalent throughout this broken and sinful world.”  Although this offering occurs in October, it is relevant to this season of Advent as we light the second candle, the Candle of Peace.

Here is how one particular congregation in Newton Presbytery is seeking to bring Peace into this broken world as they address suicide in their local community.  The Deacons, at the First Presbyterian Church of Boonton, saw a crisis in their local community.  “Sadly, and tragically, our community has lost more people to suicide in 2020 then it has to COVID-19.  In addition, suicides have been increasing in general due to the challenges the past 8+ months have created on so many of us.”  

Therefore, the Board of Deacons thought it was only appropriate to support the NJ Chapter of AFSP (American Foundation of Suicide Prevention) by designating their local 25% of this special offering to them with the hope that they can spread peacemaking of not just our physical self, but our mental self as well.  For more information on AFSP go to their website:    https://afsp.org/

With tremendous support from the Board of Deacons, FPCB raised a total of $2,130 during the peacemaking offering/Peace and Global Witness campaign, with 25% ($532.50) being sent to the AFSP and the remaining to the PCUSA.  This is an amazing feat during these times of financial strain for so many.

Take This Bread And Eat

Dear Saints,

Before the year’s end, I had to get bloodwork drawn for my annual physical. To expedite the process, I pre-registered through the portal so I could ‘zoom in and out’. Funny (or not so,) how the word Zoom has taken on a new meaning in 2020! However evidently, my pre-registration, through the portal, didn’t take. So, there I was at a kiosk having to go through the entire process again. Even after telling the service rep (twice) that I had pre-registered she said “Huh, it didn’t seem to take. Sorry! we’ll have to start again. It won’t take long”. She was professional. She was kind. She was calming.

By the way….this was on top of having been there yesterday but was turned away because the phlebotomist would not draw my blood after hearing I had had a V8 before coming. “This is a fasting test,” she said.  “Huh,” said I. “It’s never been that way before”. “Yeah, with the tests your Dr. ordered, it needs to be a fasting test”. Again “Huh,” I said. “I specifically ask my Doc every year if it has to be fasting, and every year he says ‘Nah, no fasting needed’ ”. So why this year? Why didn’t he tell me? Does he secretly think my numbers are going to be severely different than years before? (Which have always been in the normal range even if I am NOT the picture of health. But…given the year I’ve had personally on top of Covid (and we’ve all had, on top of Covid) perhaps too many of the intended good habits were ignored. Maybe my Doc is trying to subtly tell me this is the year to be more aware of my future predictors.


So, I wait, as the service rep repeats all the questions, reviews all my personal data; insurance, etc., none of which has changed in 5 years or when I visited the portal last night!

While I’m waiting, I look around. I’m watching all the staff scamper to figure out their lunch order while I try to drown out the soap opera on the flatscreen in the background. And then it hit me. I realized why the service rep was so professional, so kind and so calm.

On the walls of her station are sayings she has taped up for patients like me to read while she’s ‘finishing up the paperwork’.  And this is the one that hit me: It was a banner top to bottom of “Three Things”. It read:  Three things in life you should never lose: Hope, Peace, Honesty. Three things in life that destroy a person: Anger, Pride, Unforgiveness. Three things in life that never come back: Time, Words, Opportunity. Three things in life most valuable: Love, Family and Friends and Kindness”.

In that moment, without her saying a thing, I was ministered to by her. Although clearly all of these things are biblically rooted and grounded, she didn’t have to say a word. God was speaking to me through her wall hangings.

Saints, I continually want to scoop you all up and give a specific deeply hopeful vision for when we can gather, worship, and minister together again. I can’t and it frustrates and drains me more than I care to admit.

What I can tell you is that even when we are completely pre-occupied by our life’s struggles, sufferings, and even mundane activities, God is still seeking us out to give us bread for the journey. That bread will sustain us if we let it until we can meet again in the promised land of milk and honey and lower cholesterol. Don’t give up the journey. Stay in community, even though it’s apart, especially as we break bread together.

Seeking a healthier future with you, in and because of Christ,