Come and Eat
Rare are the linkages between The Last Supper and The First Breakfast explored. They do exist.
If we look closely, several connections readily appear. The body is fed. Relationships are nourished.Understandings of ministry move to another level.
For instance, bread and wine feed the body at the Last Supper. During one of his post-resurrection appearances, Jesus cooks breakfast. Fish and bread are on the menu. At supper and breakfast, Jesus and the disciples strengthen their relational and organizational ties as the liquid and solid food refreshment enters their mouths, throats, stomachs and system.
Tough times lie ahead. To withstand tough times and thrive requires relational and organizational ties as strong as those between mother and child. We now know that Jesus' conversations about his crucifixion (The Last Supper) and his post-resurrection admonitions to his disciples who had gone fishing The First Breakfast) were occasions for moving their understandings of ministry to another level. When he is no longer present among them, he wants them to remember the purpose of his ministry, his sacrifice and his need for their discipleship. Carrying on the movement rests with them. More importantly, if his disciples really love him, they will always feed his sheep.
The body fed. Relationships nourished. Understandings of ministry moved to another level were extant in the story that follows. Can you perceive it?
- 6 pounds of sugar
- 45 pounds of butter
- 36 dozen eggs
- 13 cases of syrup (156 bottles)
- 12 cases of pancake mix (144 boxes)
- 5 cases of applesauce
- 85 gallons of milk
- 15 hogs (with a live weight of 4,999 pounds)
How small is small? Membership is 93. Worship attendance averages 60.
Church historians tell me that this annual meal has been going on for 66 years. A few generations have come and gone in this little church. Yet, they insist on preparing this meal on the second Thursday each January. And the people continue to come for food, fellowship and strengthening relational ties in church and the wider community. A local church breakfast has become regional breakfast.
If you're interested in what they do with the money, you'll be delighted and surprised.
One layman offered this response. "We began this in 1949 and the proceeds have always been used to pay church expenses one way or another." Delighting and surprising the bishop even more was this revelation. Some of the proceeds are used to pay 100 percent of their conference/general church apportionments for 2014 in the first month of the year!
And what are apportionments?
A General Church brochure describes apportionments as the share each annual conference or local church pays to support international, national and regional (annual conference) mission?
And what is so important about mission? As the church, we have the passionate obligation to be "a sign of God's presence in the world."
For further comment, see my Charge Conference Video on understanding ministry at another level. Some of my comments are on apportionments.
P. S. "The Lord being my helper, and the creek don’t rise, I am going to breakfast at McDowell on Jan. 8, 2015." The church is McDowell UMC in the Vermilion River District. Currently, it's being served by student local pastor Andy Black.