Thursday, November 29, 2007

Take this bread

Clyde Glandon sent me the following:

The latest installment of Religion and Ethics Newsweekly has a story on Sara Miles, who runs the food bank at St. Gregory Nyssen in San Francisco—a ministry that is more than full time. A couple of years ago she was a strident atheist and a journalist who first walked in the door because she was curious about what was going on inside. She found a community that feeds people, at the altar on Sundays and at a meal with sack of groceries on Fridays, no questions asked. She reports her first experience like this: “And then a woman put a piece of fresh bread in my hand and gave me a goblet of some rather nasty, sweet wine. And I ate the bread and was completely thunderstruck by what I felt happening to me. So I stood there crying, completely unsure of what was happening to me. Got out of the church as quickly as I could before some strange, creepy Christian would try to chat with me, and came back the next week because I was hungry, and kept coming back and kept coming back to take that bread.”

It was the lack of judgment that invited her into that community, where she continues to feed people herself. She goes on to say, “I think what I discovered in that moment when I put the bread in my mouth and was so blown away by the reality of Jesus was that the requirement for faith turned out not to be believing in a doctrine, or knowing how to behave in church, or being the right kind of person, or being raised correctly, or repeating the rituals. The requirement for faith seemed to be hunger. It was the hunger that I had always had and the willingness to be fed by something I didn’t understand.”

-- Katharine Jefferts Schori, Seabury Western Commencement, June 1, 2007

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