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Third Sunday of Easter

Readings – Acts 3:12-19; Psalm 4; I John 3:1-7; Luke 24:36b-48

Our Proper Collect for today is as follows:

O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his
disciples in the breaking of the bread: Open the eyes of
our faith that we may behold him in all his redeeming work…

In the “breaking of the bread” we have a summary of the ministry of Jesus.  In “the breaking of the bread” we also have a model for our day-to-day living.

There are four elements– Receiving, Blessing, Breaking and Sharing.   Let’s take them one at a time.

First, Jesus always takes what is offered to him.  No gift is too small, too insignificant, too unworthy.  Very few of us have gifts like those of the Magi, gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Jesus welcomes all gifts.

As we live our lives faithfully in his footsteps, we, too, welcome simple gifts like a sunrise, a smile from a passing stranger, a first cup of coffee, a good morning coo from a dove on a picnic table. 

In the second element of “the breaking of bread”, when Jesus received, whatever he received.  He gave thanks to the young boy who passed on the five loaves and two fish in the midst of over 5,000 hungry people.  He gave thanks for the hospitality of Zacchaeus, a tax collector, who observed him from a sycamore tree.

This is an element we sometimes neglect, like the father who notices the muddy boots of his daughter who enters the kitchen with a frog she discovered in the pond.  We need to give thanks for that sunrise, for that smile from a stranger, for that cup of coffee, for that cooing dove, for that frog.

The third element is the physical act of breaking the offered, and the blessed.  When Jesus took the bread and broke it, it was altered, rearranged, reordered for ever in preparation for sharing.  Every gift given to God and blessed is repurposed for a greater good than we might imagine.  Every gift is transformed.  The broken gift is incorporated into the mission of God, into God’s purpose. 

So, a received gift given to us can also be imagined for a purposed not imagined by the giver.  A coffee mug can become a miniature flower pot; a sunrise can become a phone photo that will be framed and hung on the wall. 

The final of the four elements is the sharing, the distribution.  The five loaves and two fish become the meal for over 5,000 people with full baskets collected when all have been satisfied.  When the body of Jesus is broken on the cross, three days later the Holy Spirit, the spirit of the broken one, is breathed into the fearful disciples, making them the new Body of Christ we called the Church. 

When we share the broken bread among us here at All Saints it feeds us and provides us with nourishment for our faith.  We then take that faith beyond these four walls, even beyond Selinsgrove, as we share the love of God in ever expanding circles. 

Jesus received; Jesus gave thanks; Jesus broke; Jesus shared the Gifts of God with the people of God.

In the name of Jesus, we receive; in the name of Jesus, we give thanks; in the name of Jesus, we break; and in the name of Jesus we, the People of God, share the gifts of God with the people of God. 

Thanks be to God. 

Amen

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