He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a
woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” (Matt. 13:33, RSV)
On July 24, a seemingly ordinary dump truck was traveling down the I-5 through Tacoma, Washington. And everything was going as planned until around 4pm when the day started to get warm and summer sun started to heat up the metal sides of the dump truck as it carried a huge load of fresh dough down the interstate. And as the truck got warmer and warmer, the dough began to grow, and expand, and spill out of the top of the dump truck—oozing over the sides and onto the interstate, leaving a trail of globs of dough. Crews had to be called in to clean up the overflowing mess.
Maybe the Kingdom of Heaven is like a dump truck filled with dough on a hot summer day—overflowing in the midst of our rush hour. Maybe part of believing in the parables is to believe that Christ can and does meet us in the everydayness, in the ordinary of our common lives. Amidst the stuff of life, God continues to teach us, and encounter us, and remind us to watch for the quiet, almost silent, overflow of the Kingdom of Heaven.
One of the many benefits of attending the Leadership Academy hosted by the Disciples of Christ’s Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation is that they assign you a coach that will journey with you for a while. Potluck Church’s behind-the-scenes coach is Dr. Preston Adams—a man who has known the joys, challenges and pitfalls of starting new efforts, including new churches. The role of the coach is to ask questions, to listen and to return us back to our vision and mission when we find ourselves overwhelmed or adrift. The coach holds us accountable, without being paternalistic. Nurturing questions drive the conversation forward.
If you are starting a new congregation or ministry, let me encourage you to seek out a formal coaching relationship that will journey with you over the challenges and through the transitions and doubt-filled wilderness times. Find a coach that will pray for you and your ministry, celebrate with you at the smallest of victories and help you to see and keep watch. Because it is through sustained attention and focus that you will see God building your ministry.
Thank you, Dr. Adams and Hope Partnership.
We are in the final moments of eclipse countdown right now as we welcome visitors and prepare to experience totality today in western Kentucky. This will be my first solar eclipse, so I don’t quite know what to expect, but I imagine that it will be a spiritual moment for many of us—to recognize a sense of unity that we all share on this little planet in the universe, and to see the power of creation’s ability to put on a show for generations of creatures, great and small.
In the early days of Potluck Church we began by asking the question “Where did you see God this week?” Worshipers would share as they felt led to answer. Sometimes there were great silences, followed by confessions that God had been hard to see in their weeks. Then one among us suggested that we change the word “see” to “experience,” because “see” is too limiting of a word. And so now we ask a different question—a question that might allow us to talk about the eclipse as a place where we experience our creator not just in what we will see in the sky or on the ground, but also in what we will feel, and hear and sense with our whole beings and in our connectedness.
Thank you in advance, Creator God, for the opportunity to experience this eclipse moment today with you and in unity with all of your creatures.
When I was a child, my mother kept a sourdough starter—this quart-sized mason jar of yucky-looking, beige goo. I didn’t exactly understand how the jar, which took up precious shelf space in the refrigerator and got pushed to the back of the fridge over the course of the week, related to the two loaves of bread that she baked every seventh day. But I knew that it was worth keeping, because something in that jar produced the most amazing breakfast bread. All you needed was a pat of butter to melt over the warm bread, and you were fortified for the day.
My job wasn’t to feed the starter, or leaven the dough, or bake the bread. My role in this operation was to take the second loaf, still warm enough to sweat in the ziplock bag, to a neighbor. I don’t know how Mom would do the choosing of which house was in need of the bread, but she did. Then she’d call for me, and I knew it was time to begrudgingly get on my shoes and traipse across the street to go for a visit with one of the neighbors and deliver a loaf of bread.
Mom built a leavened neighborhood for my childhood—one abundant, generous loaf at a time.
written by Rachel
Set a table, invite Christ and others, leave an empty chair, serve up some powerful questions, and break bread.