Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New traditions

The worship committee here at Concordia Lutheran has gone out on a limb... they have agreed to let me bake communion bread, instead of using the traditional (and as far back as anyone can remember) communion wafers. This is a big step for this small town church. They have a great sense of adventure though. Thus far all of Robert's ideas have been embraced and welcomed. Perhaps it's still the honeymoon period... as we have only been here for 3 months. But I am proud to call this place home, and even more proud of my husband for what he is doing in this place. (I still get a bit teary eyed when he sings the communion liturgy. It's just so beautiful to listen to his bass voice sing those words, and such a beautiful gift from God that he can share with this community)

So today as I start a new tradition for Concordia Lutheran Church, I thought I would type it out as a step by step spiritual practice as well as the actual act of making the bread. So if someone else is interested in baking bread, I can pass this along to them, and they can hopefully enjoy the same fulfillment that I do from it. I have previously posted about my bread making when we were at Wartburg.. (April; Given for Me, Given for You post) and am making it more user friendly. Please enjoy and feel free to use this yourself in your congregation if you want.

Communion Bread
2c whole wheat flour
1c white flour
1 1/4 t baking powder
1 1/4 t salt
4t veggie oil
1c hot water (115 degrees)
3T honey
3T molasses

1)As I collect the goods, I thank God for my stocked pantry, for the food I eat daily, and the abundance I have. I pray for those whose pantries are empty this day, and whose tummies will grumble as they lay their heads to rest.
2)I mix the dry ingredients together, flours, salt and baking soda. Moving them about with my fingers, thanking God for the convenience of grocery stores, and a product I didn't have to grow, harvest or mill to use.
3)Working the oil into the dry mix moves my thoughts and prayers to blessings. I thank all those in service to God who anoint the sick, who pray for them, and bring them the message of the risen Christ.
4)I carefully heat the water in the microwave and pray for those who lack clean water to drink and wash with. Being thankful for the faucet in my kitchen that flows with safe water each and every day for me and my family to drink and wash with.
5)As I pour and mix the honey and molasses into the hot water I pray for babies. Honey always makes me think of sick babies, since babies aren't supposed to have honey. I pray for the babies who are in need of medications, and in need of love.
6)I pour the dark, sweet mixture into the dry ingredients while thanking God for diversity on our earth, thanking him for the melting pot of life and praying for tolerance and understanding amongst those who differ from each other. Mixing the light and dry with the dark and wet until it forms one solid ball, which will be a bit sticky, but none the less, is one, as we are all one in Christ.
7)Diving the ball into four sections I pat each one into it's own ball and flatten it, giving it a little flour dusting to prevent sticking. Thanking God for my hands, and my ability to do work, my ability to be a useful and contributing member of society.
8)Each ball finds it's place onto the pan and is scored with a serrated knife. While I score the symbol into the raw dough I think of taking up my cross, the cross to follow Jesus. The cross I bear, but Jesus died on, for my sins.
9)The loaves go into the 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. As the timer ticks I read Matthew 14:13-21. The story of Jesus feeding the 5000. I thank God for the miracles Jesus performed, and the faith I have.
10)The loaves come out after 10 minutes and are brushed with oil, giving them moisture. I pray for rain for the fields, and flowers. I think of the flood victims who have too much moisture, and the drought victims with too little.
11)The bread goes back into the oven for another 8 minutes to complete it's baking time. As they bake I read Luke 11:1-4. I pray the Lords prayer and thank him for giving me this day, my daily bread. And pray that I can be forgiving, and accepting of forgiveness.

As you package and deliver the bread to your church pray for the people in your congregation who will partake of it during service.

Doing this has been such a blessing for me and I hope it will be equally for you as you perhaps start a new tradition for your church!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Crosby, it just feel so right

We are just a few days shy of the two month mark. My days have been filled with emptying boxes, moving stuff around for a better fit, keeping the house clean for those "unexpected" knocks on the door, and running after two, yes two, very mobile children.

A few updates on the kiddos. Brigid is getting so big. She talks like a 4 yr old in sentences and will repeat anything (like shut up Jack)!! Clara is doing everything she can to catch up to big sister including starting to crawl about 2 weeks ago, and getting her first two about 1 week ago. She tries to pull herself up to stand, and is much more of a challenge than Brigid ever was. She is my needy demanding child.

Our time here in Crosby has had it's fair share of ups and downs. Of course you remember the downs... but there are some great ups I also remember.

Recently we had the unfortunate and tragic strike. A young congregation member died of a suspected heart attack while playing basketball at the school. He was a much loved, talented, bright young kid. I had seen him around town but never had the pleasure of meeting him. Which could perhaps have been one small blessing in this horrible deal. I was able to step back and be helpful and supportive as Robert tackled one of the most difficult times that his ministry will probably ever face.

I still struggle with confidentiality, even though Robert has been doing great with it. It's my natural thing to ask him how his day was, what he did, and there is just a whole lot he can't share with me. Which is okay. I just have to remember not to ask! It's a tough part of being a pastor's wife. He can't usually share much of anything with you. Just one more way our lives are a little bit different then everyone else.

Having two small children in the pew with me on Sunday, I struggle to find my spiritual time. I have started using "motivated mommies" check list that has a bible reading for the day, as well as having a spot to check off "quiet time"! This has helped me some, when I make it a priority to sit down and do it. Quiet prayer has never been a special strength of mine. Robert is asking the worship planning committee if they would consider using fresh bread for communion. That is one spiritual practice I enjoy. I have also baked cookies for fellowship coffee time, another spiritual practice of mine. Perhaps I need to find more ways to do some cooking :)

This whole journey thus far has felt so spirit led. I continue to see signs from God affirming our decision to come to this place, and love these people. Even though we are 812 miles (not that I'm counting) from my door step to my mom's door step, I still feel like this is the place we need to be right now. It feels so wonderful to be so loved by this community, and they are so excited we are here. I enjoy walking down the street seeing faces I know, not needing my library card to check out a book, and knowing my buddy Brian down at the hardware store can help me out with whatever project I come up with next!!

I can't put my finger on it, but it just feels so right here in Crosby. Like the Lord led us to this place to grow, be challenged, live, and thrive. Thanks be to God for this place.