Reading: John 14: 9-21 (Click to read text)
Summer has returned to Pennsylvania! For teachers like my husband and me, this means a flexible schedule, time with the family, and lots of local fresh produce. With the change of seasons comes the change in fresh fruit and vegetables too.
I enjoy food: local offerings, imported treats, and everything in between. When I teach Sunday School, I like to share food with my students and I try to make that food lesson-specific. My ideas are not all original, but the food always goes over well! When our lesson was Matthew 4:19, we used pretzel fishing rods to “fish” for goldfish crackers with ranch dip “bait.” We've made soft pretzels during Lent and discussed the symbolism of the “praying arms” of the twisted middle. For Easter, we made resurrection rolls. We have decorated cupcakes for Pentecost, the birthday of the church.
At the end of May this year, our Sunday School lesson was based on the scripture at the beginning of this essay. Well, what food could possibly represent, “I’m in my Father, and you’re in me, and I’m in you.”? The leader's book suggested a pomegranate. Unfortunately, pomegranates are not in season in Pennsylvania in May. I looked. And looked. But with pictures and our imaginations, the students and I managed to think about how the close-packed groups of seeds are gathered together inside the thick skin, like Christians may pray together, support one another, and worship together. Those seeds are juicy and red, and full of life--like we try to be. And they are kept safe and protected deep inside the fruit, just like God is in Jesus and Jesus is in us. Pomegranates have long been a symbol of new life. And through Jesus Christ, we are all given that gift of resurrection and new life.
So next winter, when you're longing for watermelon, blueberries, strawberries, and corn on the cob, maybe you'll see a shiny red pomegranate at the market, and remember how a pomegranate is not only a fascinating fruit imported from far away, but a symbol of the church as well. --Christine Conz Moll, former Mount Luther Camper
Closing: Discuss foods that can be symbols of Christianity.
Prayer: Dear God, help us to appreciate the bounty of the fields during these summer months. Help us to appreciate the foods we eat all year round, both for their taste, their health benefits, and even for their symbolism. In the name of the resurrected Jesus, we pray. Amen.
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