"Bread for Our Journey" is an online approach to faith development you can do as an individual, in informal small groups, or as a family.
This weekly collection is curated and written by Saint John's staff.
These reflections are intended to deepen our understanding
of scripture, to open our awareness of different voices and wisdom,
and to broaden our spiritual practices that bring creativity and justice to our world. 
August 1st, 2021
This the tenth Sunday after Pentecost.

Today we being a new worship series called "Sacred Spaces". We will be looking at sacred spaces both in our own lives and at Bible stories of holy places. Throughout out this series we will be answering these questions: What are the sacred spaces in your life? and what makes certain places sacred?

Read the scripture below and choose how you journey through this week's reflection questions, poetry, activities, and more.
Our scripture for today is taken from the worship reading for this Sunday.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26, 33-34

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread,  and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. If you are hungry, eat at home, so that when you come together, it will not be for your condemnation. About the other things I will give instructions when I come.

NRSV Translation
Use these questions as prompts to journal
on your own or to reflect in discussion
with family or friends.

The Last Supper passages in scripture are in three places: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Matthew 26: 26-29, and Luke 22:17-20. Note the similarities and differences in each passage.

Sunday we begin a series on Sacred Spaces. The word "sacred" comes to us from Latin "sancire," and means "holy" or "to confirm/ratify a treaty." Why don't we "confirm" or make an agreement with ourselves to pay attention to the sacred and holy this month, and see where we can take the idea of sacred with us.

Spend time considering sacred spaces in your daily life, and start a sacred spaces journal. At the end of August, look at all the places you have found holy space. By then, you may have formed a holy-seeking habit to take with you many places you go.
These activities can be spiritual practices for your mind, body, and heart, they are ways to help bring love and hope.
Living in Wonder
Each week through this season, we will wonder at a different sacred space from somewhere around the world.

On a peninsula in Greece, high atop the peaks of curious rock formations, sit several monasteries.
This area is called Meteora, which is Greek for "suspended in the air."

Today, Orthodox Christian monks live in these communities that were established in the 14th century. When monks first made their home here, they lived in caves along the sides of these rock pillars.

The monks here are from all over the world, and they have one goal: to get closer to God. They pray continuously and dedicate all their work to God.

In Meteora and in nearby monasteries are in Mount Athos ("holy mountain" in Greek), life is quite different. To find out more about what life is like in these sacred space, click here to watch a piece by 60 Minutes.

As you go through the spaces you occupy this week, remember that you can pray continuously and dedicate your efforts to God. Wherever you are can become sacred space this way.
Loving in Beloved Community

When Jesus sat at the table with his disciples nearly two-thousand years ago, he set a sacred space that we join him in even today.

This Table where we celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion extends beyond the bounds of time, as we celebrate with all who have feasted there - the entire communion of saints. It extends beyond space, as this Table where we receive this love of Christ is the same Table around the world, all part of that very first Table.

Last year we understood and practiced this in a new way when we celebrated the love of Christ through bread in our homes.

This Sunday we invite you to join us at the Table wherever you are. Help us to live into Christ's ever-extended Table together.
At this Table, all are welcome; all are loved; all are fed.

Image: Saint John members' communion tables from home
Resting in God
As we explore sacred spaces we will highlight the holy practice of walking a labyrinth. Each week we will share a new labyrinth in our area to explore.

Labyrinths are ancient tools for spiritual practice and can be found all over the world.

Click on the video to find out a bit about labyrinths and to see one at Journey of Faith in the Crestview neighborhood.

To find a labyrinth wherever you are, click here to use a labyrinth locator. Simply put in your zip code, country, and radius of how far you would like to search.
Saint John's labyrinth

Did you know that Saint John's has a labyrinth inside the building? The floor of our chapel is a beautiful labyrinth patterned in different shades of wood. Next time you attend worship and have a few moments, enjoy this holy space found right inside our church building.

Finger Labyrinth

Labyrinths can be different sizes. Some are big enough for several people to move around without bothering each other. Others are very small, like this finger labyrinth that you can click here to print for yourself.

Use your finger to trace this labyrinth slowly into the middle of the labyrinth – into the heart of God’s love – and then back out again. Notice how the path sometimes turns back on itself, giving more time to relax, quiet your mind, and listen deep within your heart. As you move your finger slowly to the “heart” of the labyrinth say this prayer.
This week's prayer is adapted from a prayer by Rev. M Barclay of enfleshed.

Sacred creator, you invite us to come and gather at your table
of love and liberation, to feast on your dreams,
to be nourished by but a taste of what you desire to do among us.

You call us as we are, from wherever we are,
to come and be in solidarity with Christ,
who lives and loves on the margins.

Blessed are those, Jesus said, who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.

And so let us come to your table, expectant, eager,
open to tasting the rich blessings of heaven
born from unexpected places, and people, and experiences.

Come Holy Spirit, Breath of God, Renewer of life,
settle on these gifts and all of your creation,
that we might be transformed in our remembrance
of your radical love, your eternal embrace,
and your grace that makes all things news.

For the sake of our shared lives,
the life of this land on which we live,
and the lives of those yet to come,
nourish us and renew our hope
that soon Christ may rise again among us.
To receive these Bread for Our Journey emails each week,

If you have questions or suggestions for this curriculum, 
click here to email Shelley Walters and Laura Schwarcz.

Saint John's United Methodist Church | 512-452-5737 | stjohnsaustin.org