I Am The Living Croissant

John 6:51-58 – The 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time – for August 19, 2012

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven…”

Jesus never announced, “I am the living Dunkin’ Donuts that came down from heaven.”

Silly me. You knew that!

In John’s Gospel, he of course described himself as the living bread. But wouldn’t you prefer something other than just plain old bread? So, what if we invigorate Jesus’ image as the living bread, and give folks other metaphors to chew on?

Since I’m not a big fan of Dunkin’ Donuts and nutritional experts have dubbed breakfast as the most important meal, are you a blueberry bagel believer or whole wheat English muffin disciple or a Pop Tart follower?

Or what about . . .

I am the living cinnamon bun. Why not a pastry fresh from the oven, with its yeasty smell wafting through the house? That’s what I call a good start to the day! Let’s keep Jesus sweet and tasty and easy to go down. Since it’s my bun, I’ll toss on toasted pecans and make sure to fold a little extra real butter into the dough so that my Jesus bun will please everyone (well, please everyone based on my nutty view of the world). Isn’t Jesus supposed to be a nice beginning to the day, a little sugar high of love-your-neighbor . . . that alas wears off when you leave home to grapple with the cruel, cynical world where faith seems as helpful as a cassette tape deck for an iTunes download.

I am the living slice of Wonder Bread. Well, maybe not. I’m mature enough to remember the commercials hyping how great Wonder Bread was for families. Builds your body in 8 ways! Packaged in plastic, with enough preservatives to survive a nuclear war. Slap on some peanut butter and a dollop of jam and you have a great sandwich to tuck into a kid’s lunch pail. The old, odd Wonder commercials linked buying the tasteless slices of white bread with the American dream, of life in the safe suburbs where everyone looked like you. Too often, to this day, we blend Jesus into the American dream, a wonderful guy who wouldn’t raise taxes (for Caesar or the middle class) and thinks consumerism is the answer for whatever ails you. Continue reading →

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Am I Not Entering Holy Ground?

Did my red socks display jolly Santas, lush Christmas trees or singing angels?

I don’t remember. I’ve worn and worn out many festive socks over the years.

Toes are getting a bit thin from these "veteran" socks!

Advent’s Third Word: WITNESS!

But I recall the snow, my December breath adrift like a miniature cloud, the long tramp from the driveway to their house. An hour or so outside of Madison, Wisconsin, the brittle night air contains the smell of cattle from the barn as my footsteps crunch on the icy path leading to the front door.

I also don’t remember who answered. His teenaged daughter? His wife? His brother from the next farm over?

“I’m Larry,” I say. “I had called and asked–”

“Yes, of course, come inside before you freeze. We’re glad you came.”

I entered a home I’d never been to before, and shook the hand of a stranger. In my faulty memory I can’t be sure if the friendly hand grasping mine was the daughter, wife or brother, but I certainly felt welcomed. Other family members voiced their greetings. An unseen Christmas tree cast splinters of red and green light against the wall. Evidence of baking, maybe cookies, teased my nose.

Someone offered to take my coat. Then, after a cleared throat, one of my greeters quietly asked, “Could you take your shoes off?”

They gestured toward the entryway floor. Work boots, clogs, running shoes and other footwear rested on a throw rug. I shrugged off my shoes and added them to the mix. Especially in a Midwest winter, a season of mud and snow and ice, this wasn’t unusual. Removing shoes helped in the battle for a clean house.

With my Advent/Christmas socks obvious, I padded into the living room, accompanied by members of the family. Everyone glanced at my feet, at those Santas or singing angels prancing against a bright red background. A Christmas tree anchored a corner, across from the fireplace. There was a sofa, several chairs and a hospital bed.

His wife said to me, eyes unblinking, voice strong, “This is John. He’s so looking forward to meeting you.” Continue reading →

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