Acts 2: 42-47

Easter 4A

May 3, 2020

Lincoln Street UMC, Portland, Oregon

Elizabeth Winslea

“At home they broke bread and ate with joyful and sincere hearts.”

The practice of sharing a table in worship began in the home. The first supper where Jesus broke bread was in the upper room of a friend’s house. And as remembered in Acts, the early church, as it tried on new practices and remembered as Jesus taught them, found themselves around all sorts of dining tables, in homes throughout their membership.

 

Worship in the home is a powerful reminder that God lurks everywhere, stirring up the holy spirit wherever possible. Perhaps you feel as though you have been in your homes a little too much these days. I get that. The sense of not having a choice of where to be, that has been hard on our human spirits who long to roam and feel free.

 

But today, as we gather around our communion for the second time since the quarantine began, we are rightly reminded by our earliest Christian siblings – breaking bread at home in the presence of God is indeed reason to feel joy and to celebrate. There is wonder to be found, is there not?, in a loaf of wheat that rises with the yeast. There is delight in the tang of juice or wine as it crosses the tongue.

 

And let us not forget all the efforts that lead to this moment that can also fill us with awe and gratitude – from tilling soil, planting seed, grinding and sifting grain, purchasing flour, proofing dough, waiting with patience, baking. It is a wonder we ever eat a loaf of bread, considering the steps involved.

 

And isn’t that true of so much of life, whether we are reading the next greatest novel or excavating the dust bunnies from under the couch, all of life is a wonder to behold.

 

Including each of us. Perhaps we feel that some of us are more under foot than we would prefer, our walls feeling closer drawn than usual. But we do well on this Sunday of celebration to remember Teresa of Avila who taught her postulates and sisters that if the demands and obligations of life call you to be in the kitchen or the laundry or the kindergarten zoom class or the fourteenth Zoom meeting, remember that God will be with you there, just as much as your formal contemplation.“So come on, my daughters,” she urges, “do not despair. If obedience demands of you to be employed in external things, then understand that if these are in the kitchen then the Lord walks among the pots and God helps you there both externally and internally.”

 

I am grateful that our tradition of faith began in the home, around a table, breaking a loaf of bread – and finding joy in that. Joy enough to change a heart, to inspire a people, to spark a movement, to alter a world.

 

Come, the table is set, in your home and yours and yours and yours. God is present – internally and externally – and anticipates our arrival with joy and wonder. Won’t you come join God?

This sermon was written by Elizabeth Winslea and delivered on May 3, 2020, via Zoom to the Lincoln Street United Methodist Church. It is published here with the permission of the author. Please link back to this post and credit the author if you reprint or use any portion of it.