PLUM Pastoral Message
Eat, Drink, Live
Greetings, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
To quote the apostle Paul, I thank my God every time I remember you, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1
My deep-felt thanks to all of you who remembered me in prayer and with cards during my recovery from a hip replacement. I was truly blessed by your outpouring of love and concern. It is good to be back! It seems that the summer has slipped past quickly and now we find ourselves beginning the Fall season, a time that tends to be filled with busy days and many activities, all before the rush of the holiday season. Your pastors pray that this season is filled with blessings for you all.
As I thought about what to write for this newsletter, I found myself remembering the fellowship that we shared at our summer gatherings and anticipating the Thanksgiving Day holiday that will soon be upon us. I thought about our worship services and all the many activities that are being planned for the next few months. The things that these all have in common are these: people, food and drink.
I am currently reading the book, For All Who Hunger by Emily D. Scott. Emily Scott is the founding pastor of St. Lydia’s Dinner Church in Brooklyn, NY, where worship takes place over a meal. In the book, I found this quote: “The world begins at the kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.” From the moment that we are born, our most basic need is for nutrition. If we do not eat, we die. When the Israelites were starving in the dessert, God sent manna. When 5,000 hungry people surrounded Jesus, he did not send them away, but multiplied what was there to provide a feast with left-overs. Jesus last time with his disciples was over a meal, a meal that is still being served to us today.
Hear these familiar words; “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matt. 26:26-29 They ate, they drank and they lived - and we do, too.
We cannot survive on just food. We also need water. Even our Lord got thirsty. On a journey, he stopped in Samaria to rest. We are told by the gospel writer, John, that he met a woman there and asked her for a drink and then offered her ‘living water.’
“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:11-14 We need this living water, and praise God, the well is deep and full. There was enough water for the people of Samaria, and even for a woman who found herself talking with a stranger one day. A stranger that quenched her thirst to the point that she became a fountain that was overflowing with love and praise for the Lord, a fountain so full that she had to share what she received. We have all probably had a moment or more in our lives when we felt so full of love that it just came gushing out. We have all, also, had those moments when, like the woman at the well, we have come thirsty.
Recently, someone recommended the Netflix series, Sweet Magnolias, to me. One of the minor characters of this show is the local pastor. In a conversation with a parishioner, she said, “Give the thirsty a drink, but remember, you get thirsty too. Let someone pour for you.” I think that this statement is demonstrated in the woman at the well and Jesus. Both were there at the well, needing water. Each one gave what was theirs to give. Jesus couldn’t get water at the well without her bucket, and she couldn’t receive living water without Jesus. They both drank that day and lived.
People, food, drink. In the days ahead, we will spend a lot of time with people, eating and drinking. These are gifts that God has given to us, wonderful gifts of relationships and nourishment. We are reminded of these gifts every time that we gather around our Lord’s table and hear the words, “Take and Eat, Take and Drink.” Eat, Drink, Live!
May God bless you and keep you, now and forever,
Pastor Sue and your Pastoral Team
Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries (PLUM), 405 Kennedy Avenue, Duquesne, PA 15110 412-466-7773