Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate Notes for Sunday’s Message; 2 Timothy 1:6-14; World Communion Sunday

Scriptures for this Sunday: 2 Timothy 1:6-14

You can read these Scriptures here: {NIV and ESV}

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Today is World Communion Sunday.

World Communion Sunday is a celebration observed by many Christian denominations. It always takes place on the first Sunday of October, and its celebration promotes Christian unity and ecumenical (inter‑denominational) cooperation.

Pastors tend to get much more excited about World Communion Sunday than laity. I remember watching my pastors, bouncing off the walls of the sanctuary with excitement. I remember wondering what it was that they knew that I did not understand, and how World Communion Sunday was different from any other Sunday of the year when our congregation celebrated the Sacrament of the Holy Communion.

Now I am in their shoes, and those are pretty large shoes to fill. Today I want to attempt to explain why I am excited about today. Our Tuesday Bible study gave me a great metaphor to explain what makes me excited about World Communion Sunday and how I understand it.

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Every Tuesday a few of us gather around the table in the meeting room to study the Bible, to fellowship, and to help each other to grow in our relationship with God. At present we are in the middle of a Bible study that looks at images of the Holy in the visual arts.

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Pablo Picasso said that “Art is a lie that tells us something about the Truth.” With that in mind our Bible study is looking at recent movies with the intent of figuring out how our modern parables, or stories that we tell ourselves, connect us to God. These stories are windows into what we believe to be right, true and beautiful

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The movie that we just finished looking at is called The Hundred-Foot Journey. It was released in August 2014 and it is a story of a family fleeing religious persecution in their native India and finally finding a home in a small village in France. It is an awesome movie and if you have not seen it, it is well worth 2 hours of your time.

The major thread in the plot of the movie (one of many) is a story of a young man, Hassan, who has a natural talent for cooking; he is a chef in the family restaurant. He has a passion for cooking, and he is not afraid to experiment with different foods, flavors, textures, and spices.

In 2011 there was a study done comparing North American and Western European cuisines with East Asian cuisines. That study discovered that Western European cuisine (the way we prepare our food) tends to include ingredients with similar flavor molecules together in one recipe. By contrast East Asian (Chinese, Indian) cuisines do the opposite: East Asian cuisine use spices and ingredients that have very different flavor molecules. That means that the ingredients in most recipes traditionally associated with Western cuisine overlap and deepen each other’s flavors, while those in Asian recipes tend to bristle against one another with distinctive flavors (Satran).

In East Asian Cuisine, for flavors to work together, a recipe has to cook or marinade for a long time giving spices time to release their flavor and complement each other. Learning how to do that takes a long time and Hassan had an aptitude, an interest, and determination to work to become good at it.

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Without giving away the plot of the movie, Hassan found a way to infuse the classical western spice palate of France with the Indian spice palate. Because he was able to do that, Hassan became a sensation in the culinary world of France when he was able to successfully modify traditional French dishes and infuse them with new flavors. We also see him modify traditional Indian dishes with western ingredients.

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The Hundred Foot Journey is a movie that tells us a story of something new emerging from the foundation of two classical culinary schools. Both French and Indian recipes were transformed; in the process many people enjoyed the transformation because they liked the new resulting flavors.

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For me, World Communion Sunday is a reminder that each of us is a different “spice” in the kitchen and in the process of God’s Creation. World Communion Sunday asserts that although we have different backgrounds, different talents and different abilities, we influence each other and that influence can help us to become the best version of what God created us to be. The words “melting pot” come to mind…

The Church is always emerging and changing with the times. The Church is always relying on you and me, (people of various backgrounds, viewpoints, talents, and abilities) to come together, to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us (or in the language of today’s illustration to “cook” or “marinade” together) so that we find new ways to serve as tools in God’s hands, serving God by serving the world in which we live.

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World Communion Sunday is about acknowledging that the labels that we apply to ourselves (Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Baptist, White, Black, Latinos, etc.) are man-made. We are all God’s children, all loved by God and created to complement each other’s efforts and presence. There is a saying, “I may forget what someone said, but I will never forget how they made me feel.” World Communion Sunday is about finding ways to inspire and encourage each other.

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In today’s Scripture reading we heard, “7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord …” (2 Tim 1:7-8). Today is about finding the power, courage, love, openness and discipline to find ways to connect, to bridge divisions, and to break down walls of separation.

That understanding is what makes me really excited about today, World Communion Sunday.

{Celebrating the Sacrament of the Holy Communion}

Bibliography

Satran, Joe. “Western-Asian Flavor Differences Revealed By New Study.” 15 12 2011. Huffington Post. accessed 28 09 2016 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/15/western-asian-flavor_n_1152211.html. 28 09 2016.

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