Believing In Abundance {a loaves and fishes altar}

As I have reflected on Leslie’s death over the past few days, I am realizing just how much I miss blogging on a regular basis.  When I took a step back from blogging four years ago, it was because I was a newly-called pastor in a very small town trying to figure out boundaries that would work for me, my husband and my church.  While I have in no way figured that out, I do miss the wonderful community I had in my little corner of the world wide web.  So in honor of Leslie, I am going to reignite my passion for blogging about life, ministry and the pursuit of God’s grace in the midst of my imperfections.

So let’s talk about last Sunday, shall we?  SPOILER ALERT:

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The altar looked like this.

The Youth Group took part in a Week of Service last week and – in lieu of preaching a long sermon – I decided to interview a few of the kids to reflect on their experiences.  The lectionary gospel was the loaves and fishes story from John and it actually tied in perfectly!  I preached on the idea that God’s abundance can come out of something that seems small to us – and how even though we did short days of local service (instead of a big mission trip), we still were able to have a large impact.

I love visuals in worship so it was always in the back of my mind that it would be fun to fill the altar with fresh-baked bread.  So when a group of us went to the driving range on Thursday and one of the girls in my car started talking about baking bread, I “casually mentioned” (in the most blunt way possible, ha!) that I was looking for someone to make bread for Sunday.  Thankfully Sarah was all about jumping on board with my crazy ideas.

It must be something in the name.

So Sunday morning Sarah’s husband Jason walked in to my office with a basket of freshly-baked bread.  Actually the aroma arrived first.  Do you know how distracting it is to lead worship three feet from carb heaven??  Good gracious.

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I had set the basket and fabrics up earlier that morning, so it was just a matter of adding the bread!  Very, very easy.

And do you want to know the best part?  I motioned for Bruce to come up to the pulpit during the closing hymn and told him to grab a knife from the kitchen.  Yes, we totally cut into those suckers as soon as the final “Amen” was said.

Actually, many, many more “Amens” were said after that.

The funny part about this altar is that the story was loaves and fishes … and I only had the loaves up there.  I had joked with Bruce that I needed him to go fishing before church so that I could throw a fish or two into the mix.  Turns out the tides were right and his alarm went off at 3 am that morning …

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… by 7 am I was at the church and he texted me this pic.  Instantly I had this hilarious image of him and his buddy Marc marching into the sanctuary during the opening hymn and plopping a ginormous fish on the altar.

Thankfully it was all catch and release that morning.

Somehow I don’t think the aroma would have been the same.

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