Christ in mouth of friend and stranger
I woke this morning to the barest whispers of a dream I could no longer see. What lingered from this dream was a line of St. Patrick’s prayer: “Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.”
Now, it is NOT a common occurrence for me to wake up with prayers lingering in the sleepy caverns of my mind. Yet, the words hung, like cobwebs lit up by light. I then felt an inner shift, and new words appeared, the words Jesus spoke to his friends during their last meal together: “This is my body, broken for you.”
Huh. “The body of Christ”—the bread—”in mouth of friend and stranger.” Then, the focus shifted one last time and my mind landed on the feeding of the 5,000. I saw the crowds on the hillside with their basketfuls of leftover bread. Bread that minutes before had been a few meagre loaves. Bread offered to Jesus, broken, and shared. Bread filling the mouths of friends and strangers.
Jo, my daughter, is a server. She noticed that when Indo-Canadians come into her restaurant, they will order a bunch of main courses, put them in the middle of the table, and share them with each other, while white customers mostly order separate dishes and eat them by themselves. Jesus was Middle Eastern and like the families who make their way to Jo’s table, Jesus would have assumed that a loaf of bread is to be split apart and shared.
In that early morning awakening, I wondered if maybe I had been missing the point of communion. Maybe the important verb in that last gathering was not “bless, break, eat”, or “remember”; maybe it was “share”?
Maybe, Jesus was not so much saying to his disciples, “Whenever you eat bread, remember me”, as “Whenever you take a solitary loaf, break it and pass it around to others, so that everyone gets to eat and be full, remember me”. Because there, in that sharing, in that feasting, in that generous fullness, I will be with you, found in the mouth of friend and stranger.”
We are in the middle of a global food crisis. Hunger and malnutrition are on the rise. In 2021, 823 million people were hungry. The war in Ukraine has pushed an additional 50 million into severe hunger in 2022. With food prices rising, another 19 million more are expected to face chronic undernourishment globally in 2023 (link).
This scares me. I feel afraid for our world. God knows this about me. My experience this morning is a strange grace, speaking into my fear. Instead of wringing my hands in fear, I realize I may open my hands and share. I can help get bread, the body of Christ, into the mouths of friends and strangers.
So, what might this look for us? How can we start now, right where we are?
1. Let’s support the work of Gleaners. The week we were there, 1,000,000 servings of dried soup went to Poland. This is food that would have gone to waste going straight into hungry mouths from Ukraine. We don’t have to go to Oliver, BC. There’s a chance to volunteer right here in Abbotsford!
2. Let’s help Paul and Angela get the harvest out of their fields and help them get surplus to the food bank. If you have morning hours to spare, Mon-Thu, please text them.
3. Let’s do a summer offering in honour of two of our core images, the Seed and the Table. We can give half the money to A Rocha, so that they can give shares to local families in need, and half to Canadian Baptist Ministries to get money into hungry communities abroad. On Sunday, August 14, come hear Farmer Carly Richardson from A Rocha and her boyfriend, Michael, tell stories on the friendship bench.
4. Let’s do an August food bank drive to help local families in need.
As we move with generosity and open our hands, I believe we will experience a lifting of fear and the movement of joy within us.
Deep peace and blessings.
Rev. Anne Baxter Smith
Pastor of the Church at Southpoint
If you’re planning to join us for an in-person service, please read our Covid policy. It’s kept up to date, here.
In-Person 10:00 am on Sundays at 15639 24 Avenue, Surrey!
Our Summer Services
– a 45-minute intergenerational service with communion
– linger to eat and talk post-service
– to help with iced coffee and nibbles, email Katie
Unless otherwise noted, we meet in-person in the Sunnyside church building at 15639 24 Avenue.
Sun. Aug 7, 10:00 -11:00 am
Celebration and worship with the congregation of Peninsula United as they become an officially welcoming and affirming church. Meet at 2756 – 127 Street. We’ve let them know about 20 Southpointers will be there.
Sun. Aug 14
Intergenerational service at Sunnyside
Sun. Aug 21
Intergenerational service at Sunnyside
New to Southpoint?
At Southpoint, it all begins with God’s love. Just as a plant grows, it receives sunshine, so we grow as we receive God’s love. At Southpoint, we are growing in our capacity to love God, ourselves, one another, and creation.
We seek to be a community of grace that is intentional yet organic, spacious yet authentic, grace-filled yet accountable. * We are fully welcoming. *
We encourage relationships rather than run programs, yet we recognize the importance of intentionality and structure as we nurture life together.
As a community, we seek to put our love in action. We value helping out on Sunday mornings, sharing food, and showing up in hard times. We keep our church life simple so folk have time to build relationships with family, friends, and neighbours. We encourage folk to serve in tangible ways within the wider community. We rent space rather than own a building, allowing us to do more with less, supporting missions at home and abroad.
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