A TIME OF GREAT THANKSGIVING
Jesus said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” (Luke 13:20-21)
November brings many meals of thanksgiving. Families will gather for an annual feast. Some will gather with other Christians to give thanks and share in the Holy Meal provided by God. Many will help to serve an especially festive meal in shelters and soup kitchens. And at Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Dormont, the donations of many people will be turned into more than 1,000 meals to those who eat alone, or without family, or with a few devoted friends. November is a time for general thanksgiving – in our homes, in our churches, and in our country.
Scripture tells us a woman mixed flour and yeast. She kneaded the dough, covered it, and later kneaded it again. When it was ready, she shaped loaves and baked them in her oven. The process and the baked loaves that resulted from the process reminded Jesus - and remind us - that the Kingdom of God can be experienced in the routine action of bread baking - and the Kingdom is in the simple words we speak at the end of every Sunday liturgy: “Thanks be to God!”
The Bread and Wine that is set apart by the congregation and blessed by the pastor is the Real Presence of Jesus and the Kingdom of God in our midst. These elements hallow our Thanksgiving Meals, as well as the hot dogs and the peanuts we eat at Heinz Field. These common meals proclaim that none of us is alone, that all of us live under God’s abundant grace, that we are a divinely appointed community gathered around God’s Word.
The uncommon element of this November is that the woman with yeast and flour in her hands will be Brenda Henry. Having come to PLUM to complete her training for ministry, Brenda will be ordained into the Ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on November 3, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. in Christ Lutheran Church, 405 Kennedy Ave., Duquesne. Bishop Kurt Kusserow will be present to conduct the ordination. Many of you have gotten to know Brenda, as she has delivered sermons, taught Bible Study and Confirmation Classes, attended Council Meetings, and on other occasions.
Brenda’s home is in St. Croix. She came to Pittsburgh to practice social work. She attended Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She took a number of classes from United Lutheran Seminary and has been mentored by Pastor Susan Schwartz, Hope Lutheran Church, Forest Hills and Pastor John Gropp, PLUM. She jumped through more hoops of approval than any of us would have imagined. She brings with her the yeast of a varied religious background and a strong sensitivity to the poor and marginalized. She freely shares her faith experience as a Black woman and mother of two young adults.
The yeast that Pastor Brenda brings to PLUM will surely raise us to new heights of ministry and service in our communities. Please keep Pastor Brenda in your prayers as she becomes our pastor and she takes up this important role in our church. The yeast of God’s love and grace are in our hands and hers. Together, we will move the life and mission of the church forward.
“THANKS BE TO GOD!”
+Pastor Paul Koch
on behalf of the PLUM Pastoral Team
Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries (PLUM), 405 Kennedy Avenue, Duquesne, PA 15110 412-466-7773