The first Sunday of Lent in our Lenten Series focussing on the Discipline of Almsgiving.
for Sunday, March 9, 2014
First Sunday in Lent
lectionary focus: Matthew 4:1-11
note: Have a big basket on the chancel steps to collect the loaves of bread brought by the children for today’s almsgiving. (You might also want to have some extra loaves to give to those children whose family forgot.)
note 2: The opening story comes from Sleeping With Bread by Dennis Linn, Shelia F. Linn, and Matthew Linn (1995) (Google eBook)
Welcome! Such beautiful loves of bread!! Please place them here in this basket.
Long ago during World War II, there were children whose homes were destroyed and their families separated by the warfare. Those children were then kept safe in various camps. But because of the war and the destruction and the stress they were living through, many of these children had a hard time sleeping. Someone decided to give each child a piece of bread to hold during the night. The bread in their hands reminded the children that they had eaten that day and that they would have food to eat the next day. The bread reminded them that they were not alone, giving them comfort, making them feel safe, and they could sleep.
In our Bible story today from the Book of Matthew, Jesus has spent some time alone in the wilderness praying and preparing for His ministry. Because He has been out there so long, He is hungry. Satan comes to Him and tempts Him to change the rocks into bread to eat. Jesus is not one to be tricked by the Devil, but Jesus responds in a tricky way. Jesus says that man does not live by bread alone.
Now Jesus is NOT getting ready to explain the different food groups and how to eat a balanced diet. What we hear from Jesus is the reminder that we do not live our lives by ourselves. We are not alone. We live our lives WITH God and WITH each other.
We are now in the Season of Lent. During this Season, we are focussing on the discipline of almsgiving. As we find ways to make sure that others have what they need, we strengthen our relationship with God and each other. Today you brought loaves of bread. Mr. Bill and I will take all of this bread after the service down to the First Light Homeless Shelter. The guests there will enjoy this bread with their dinner tonight. They will be nourished. And in this stressful, lonely, and fearful time in their lives, they will feel comfort and safety. They will have food today and know that they will have something to eat tomorrow. But most importantly, the guests at the shelter will feel your love and God’s love. Through your gift, they will know that they are not alone.
Thank you for bringing these beautiful loaves today! Next week, we will hear the story of Nicodemus going out to meet Jesus…and so we are asking you to bring new socks for your almsgiving on next Sunday. Again, we will email you on Thursday to remind you!
Now will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)
that we are not alone.
Please bless this Bread
as we share it with others
so they will know
and Your love.
We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.