From the Backcountry 8-4-17

North Greenwich Congregational Church

Pastor’s Weekly Update

August 4, 2017

Painted-Lady Butterfly basks in our Pollinator Garden.  The butterfly is a multi-cultural symbol for transformation and joy.  Its' whimsical dance reflects the need for movement from where we are to our next phase of being.

Painted-Lady Butterfly basks in our Pollinator Garden.  The butterfly is a multi-cultural symbol for transformation and joy.  Its' whimsical dance reflects the need for movement from where we are to our next phase of being.

 From the Backcountry …

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”   Matthew 5:48

The quest for perfection often traps us in a labyrinth of unrealistic expectations that drain our creativity, courage and confidence. Yet, striving to be better individuals is certainly what following Jesus is all about.  Whether through listening, doing, encouraging, hoping, believing, trusting… or simply smiling, the Gospel challenges us to become far more than we could ever dream possible.  This process is not an effort designed to outshine anyone else.  Conventional wisdom maintains that the only person we should strive to be “better” than …is the person we were yesterday.  As a result, we make life better for ourselves and for those around us.  Or, as behavioral expert Josh Shipp says, “We can either get bitter, or we can get better!” 

Sunday, August 6   Morning Worship  10:30 a.m.   Holy Communion

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 145; Matthew 14:13-21

Text:  “They took up what was left  over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full.”  Matthew 14:20

Sermon:  “More Than Enough”

Synopsis:   Even though our focus is usually on Jesus’ ability to feed a multitude of people with only two fish and five loaves of bread, what strikes me whenever I read this story are the left overs. As the only miracle story to appear in all four gospels, the narrative obviously plays an important role in the Gospel witness.  I think the key to understanding the Feeding of the Five Thousand has everything to do with taking a closer look at those ten baskets of broken pieces.

The Wider Church - Neighbor to Neighbor Food Pantry

Harvest kaleidoscope of cucumbers, yellow squash, beets, cherry tomatoes and assorted bush beans from the Teaching Garden.

Harvest kaleidoscope of cucumbers, yellow squash, beets, cherry tomatoes and assorted bush beans from the Teaching Garden.

 Food Insecurity in Fairfield County

As we deliver our second harvest of fresh produce to Neighbor-to-Neighbor Food Pantry, it’s a good moment to review a few numbers.

11.2% of Fairfield County’s population is food-insecure.  (Food insecurity is a phrase used by the USDA to describe lack of consistent access to adequate amounts of food for an active, healthy life.) This means that nearly 100,000 people do not have sufficient quantities (or qualities) of food in our own backyard.  According to the Connecticut Food Bank, that includes 31,540 children.

46% of that 100,000 do not receive federal food assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps), free or reduced price school meals, or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, because these families earn over the income limit to qualify.  They are all working families –  some juggling more than one job.  Yet – like all of us - when it comes to bill-paying time, choices have to be made between paying the electric bill, putting gas in the car to go to work, paying the mortgage, or buying food for their families. 

With our regular donations of fresh produce throughout the summer and fall, we are joining hands with local growers, retailers, the food industry and  a host of other community supporters to give our own community witness to Jesus’ Feeding of the Five Thousand (x 20)!!  

Well Done… good and faithful servants!

Royal

Road Rules:   “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful!!”   Annette Funicello