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Fall 2009

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Fall 2009 - Department | St. Alban’s Minute

St. Alban’s Minute with The Rev. Daniel L. Leatherman

“I am the bread of the life.  Those who come to me will never go hungry, those who believe in me will never be thirsty.” 
- John 6:35

A widower had some raspberry bushes. He and his late wife had planted them when they were nothing more than spindly little canes. A member of his church approached him and asked if she could come and pick some raspberries. “You have to pick them if you want them to continue to produce,” she explained. “And I want to make you a pie.  You don’t make raspberry pie that often because it usually takes a whole lot of berries and you have a whole bunch of berries, just waiting to be made into a pie.”

She returned later that afternoon with the pie.  Still warm, its juicy contents oozed from between the lattice of the light, flaky, homemade crust. “Enjoy a piece with me?” he said as he thanked her for this delectable treat. “I can’t eat the whole thing by myself.” He poured them each a glass of cold milk and cut two pieces of the pie. It was marvelous – sweet and tart, gooey and delicious. Each bite a taste of summer.

And when they had finished visiting, he got an idea. He packed up the pie and went to visit a friend. “Here, have a piece of pie,” he said. “I won’t stay long, but I think you will really enjoy this.” They visited while his friend ate the pie, a small piece, but its richness made up for it and it was just the right amount.

He spent the rest of the day sharing the pie, slice by modest slice.  It brought together elements of sunshine, earth, creativity, and life, with the joy of friendship and fellowship. The pie became the vehicle for communion and a messenger of love and caring.

Jesus fed the multitudes with staples of bread and fish. The people, though they had enough to eat (there were baskets of leftovers), still wanted more. They pursued him and wanted to be sure that they would have “enough” – enough, wonderful and limitless bread to fulfill their needs.

But they missed the point. The bread that Jesus broke and shared among the people was real, tangible, nutritious sustenance for the body. There is bread for our bodies, but what about the bread for the soul?

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” In him we are offered nourishment for our emptiness that lies not in our stomachs but in our hearts, an emptiness that we sometimes try to fill with poor substitutes or substances that we think will help assuage the gnawing void. The problem is that when we do so, there is never “enough,” and our hunger and emptiness only continue their vicious cycle.

The Holy grace and love that can come only from the Divine is bread for daily living. It is at the heart of the widower, his gift of love in a pie that he in turn took to others. It was more than just the food of a summer treat that brought joy into his life: the sharing of such love given to him and the fellowship that followed.

We are called not just to say we believe, but to hunger and thirst after God; to be reminded of the wonder of life and be strengthened. And thus fed by this very bread of life, take that life sustaining food for body and soul and share it. Communion. Piece by piece.

The Rev. Daniel L. Leatherman