Sermon of the Week:
Food for Thought–Leisure to Eat
Part one of a five-week sermon series about Food and the Christian Faith, called Food for Thought.
Special Music: Give me Jesus
Hymn: Come! Live in the Light
Keywords: Self-Care, Side Story, Gospel of Mark, Food for Thought. #pcusa
Permission to podcast / stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE with license #A-733469. All rights reserved.
My kids were shocked, shocked,
when we told them that we ate at IHOP,
the International House of Pancakes.
on the night we got married.
Nothing wrong with IHOP, of course,
Just our first dinner as a married couple, that very night of our wedding:
A couple of eggs, hash browns, and orange juice.
Brook and I celebrated our anniversary this weekend,
And milestones often prompt memories, right, and reflection.
And so we were talking with them about that night
Which was a wonderful occasion for us.
We were just kids, 22 years ago,
Middle of July, middle of a heat wave…
The church didn’t have air conditioning
And I thought that the pastor was going to faint.
I think she thought we were going to faint.
But no one fainted, thank goodness.
We held hands, said our vows, gave thanks to God for it all.
And when it was all complete,
we all left the church to find some air conditioning somewhere.
We experienced a quick rain shower
on the drive over to our reception, which they said was good luck,
rain on your wedding day.
It had stopped by the time we got there
this place called the Barn of Barrington.
We had a relatively small wedding,
And it is all a bit of a blur, to be honest,
As major life moments sometimes are.
We had maybe 80 people with celebrate our wedding with us
And then afterwards they joined us at our reception,
Which featured music on a 6 track CD player that we had planned out in advance
And a buffet style meal.
That evening was great, and people had a good time
And there was laughter and some dancing
And Brook and I mainly went around the room
and said hi to everyone and the whole bit
And then when it was all over
We realized that neither of us had eaten dinner.
Brook said to me: Are you hungry?
And I said to her: Are you hungry?
And, confirming that we were both peckish,
We walked from the La Quinta Inn that we were staying at
Across the parking lot to the IHOP
For our first married meal.
We’ll always remember that detail.
Honestly, it stands out to me more than the reception
or half the wedding service itself.
Our memory does that for us, sometimes,
It remembers the side story as much as the main story.
In addition to our anniversary celebration yesterday,
Our daughters had their wisdom teeth removed on Friday,
Which isn’t a big deal,
but it’s still a deal, you know
Anesthesia and sutures and the whole thing.
They did great, and are doing great
but I worried a bit about them.
So all this reflecting this weekend had us reflecting about them, too.
And we were thinking about the day that they were born,
And there’s a story we tell about that day
Which is another example of this feature of our memory
How we sometimes remember the side story as much as the main story.
The main story here, of course, is that we went to the hospital as two people
And we left the hospital a couple days later as four.
Two new people were born.
And it was an amazing, marvelous, stressful, fantastic sort of thing.
On that August day of their birth,
much like this past Friday when they had their wisdom teeth removed,
the kids did great,
they are doing great, to this day,
Even if I was worried a bit about them…as maybe all expectant parents do.
But there’s a side story that we often tell
About that momentous day at the hospital.
We arrived early because Brook was induced.
Twins usually arrive early,
but Nora and Tessa were taking their time
and at 39 weeks we were ready.
They were ready too, they just didn’t know it yet,
And so we got there early that morning
Settled into our waiting room and got started with the induction medicine.
We were getting our minds and our hearts ready.
And we did all of that,
and we were talking
and I was making jokes
Because I knew those wouldn’t be appreciated later, you know,
And it was nice.
It was quiet and calm.
Now and then a nurse would come into the room,
check on things, write some things down, then leave for a good while.
Through all of this, I would look up at the clock,
and watch the time pass:
10 o’clock. 11 o’clock. 12 o’clock.
The kids were taking their time.
Which was fine and normal of course.
Brook was good. The kids’ vitals were good.
It just looked like we might be there a little while.
And someone had shared with me the notion
That my job was to be positive, to be encouraging,
and to help out … if asked….
But to otherwise not make myself stand out, you know.
Brook may like my attention, and distraction,
Or she may not,
And, you know, I should follow her lead
but otherwise just go with the flow.
The main thing
was for me to be there to help her through
the moments just before she’d be ready…
what they call the transition phase of labor.
Again, just to do whatever she needed, to be supportive,
to be present.
And so it got to half past noon or so
And I was over in the corner of the room or something,
just trying not to be obvious,
and I took a granola bar out of my jeans pocket
and I tried to open it so quietly,
to eat it without drawing attention to myself
and, apparently, I did a poor job of it,
because Brook looked over at me and she looked at the clock
and she told me to go and get myself something real to eat.
And I looked at her
to be sure she meant it,
And she did,
She knew it would be better if I had eaten something,
So I followed her lead and I told her sure, great, I’d go do that,
Knowing both that I didn’t want to leave her alone,
But also that I needed to do what she wanted me to do,
So I went to the door, and I told her that I’d just go down to the cafeteria
and I’d be back up in a bit.
And I opened the door and I slipped out and closed the door so softly,
as quietly as I could,
And as soon as that door was closed completely,
I turned, and I sprinted…
Down the hall,
Over to the staircase
Down three flights of stairs, all the way to the basement
One, two, three,
Trying to go as fast as I could while not being wild, you know,
I didn’t want to run into a doctor or a nurse or anything,
Though if one of them had seen me I’m sure they would have said
Oh yeah, expectant father, that one…
And I made it to the cafeteria.
And when I got there, I filled a plate with some chicken tenders and some fries
And I headed over to the check-out line.
Only I ate it,
all of it,
before I got to the cashier.
I paid for my lunch
And then I ran back up the three flights of stairs
All the way back to our room.
That was probably the fastest fast food I had ever eaten.
Now, I was gone for no more than 10, 15 minutes.
And in that 15 minutes,
Brook had gone from not being anywhere near ready
To being ready ready… you know.
They were coming,
any minute now.
And indeed, just a couple minutes later, we welcomed Nora. It was amazing!
And then a bit later Tessa, hurrah!
And everything would be different, from that moment on.
That was the main story.
The side story, was the time I missed transition
When I ran down and back to get some lunch…
This section of the Gospel of Mark
offers one of several retellings of what is called
the miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes.
Maybe you remember that story.
Sometimes we call it the Feeding of the 5000.
That story is amazing and wonderful
and we’re going to look at that story next Sunday,
John’s version of that story.
When Mark tells that story, he puts it here,
between the parts that I read today
When Jesus’s apostles gather around him,
and he sees that they’re all kinda exhausted,
because they’ve been working really hard…
And then a moment, later, after the feeding of the 5000
Where they cross over to a different place
And there are all those crowds there
that want to get close to Jesus
who want to find healing and comfort and relief.
If you were to sit down and just read Chapter 6
of the Gospel according to Mark
You would see that there’s just a lot going on here.
It opens with Jesus speaking in the synagogue of his home town
And finding no reception there.
And then there’s Jesus sending out the disciples in pairs, two by two,
to heal and to teach and to serve in various cities throughout the region.
Then there’s a story about the death of John the Baptist,
Then a transitionary piece, which we read today,
about those disciples coming back to Jesus
to share with him
all the things that they had seen and done.
Did you notice that Jesus sees that they’re exhausted.
So he says:…let’s get away,
Come on, lets go rest a while.
For many were coming and going,
And they had no leisure even to eat…
They try to do that,
But the people see them, the crowds follow them
And when they get to the other side of the lake
They’re all there, and Jesus has empathy for them
And he teaches and he shares the good news with them
And that’s the scene, when it starts getting late
That becomes the story of the feeding of the five thousand.
Again, we’ll get to that next week. [Read more…]