my parable

I wrote the following parable for my Advent week one sermon.

There was once a great and powerful king ruling over a hungry land. One day the king gave bread to his people. The bread was enough to fill everyone’s belly. That day it was available all who would eat it. Many of the people in the kingdom not only filled their stomachs, but said it was the most delicious bread they had ever tasted. As that day was drawing to a close the king promised there was coming another day when he would provide enough bread for the whole kingdom again.

In the days immediately following the first feast people hopefully waited for the second feast. But days passed turned into weeks, weeks into months, and months…the time passed as it always does, and people began to wonder about the king’s promise. The uncertainty began to divide people in the kingdom.

There was a small but vocal group of strong bread theorists. They wrote books guessing at the king’s recipe. They calculated wheat harvests, and tracked yeast shipments to try to guess when the king was baking. More than once they fasted for days on end, in anticipation of the king’s bread coming in the immediate future. Each time they were disappointed, and had to break their fast with the meager bread their hungry land could produce.

There was a large diverse group of bread disbelievers too. Time had passed, those who remembered it loved the first feast, but they thought, maybe they just misunderstood the promise the king made. Some were convinced that the king was good, and was doing his best, his hands were just tied by the hungry land they lived in. Others gave up all hope in the king, even arguing that the first feast was just ordinary bead. Some thought his promise was a directive for the people to feed one another, so they took to the king’s work for him, baking and distributing bread as best they could, but never finding the perfect recipe.

There was another diverse group too, maybe call them bread quietists. They knew the promise the king had made. They filled their bellies on the first feast. They knew the king was always good to his word, but so much time had passed. The held hope against hope, but they did so quietly. Not making bold predictions like the strong bread theorists, and never denying the king’s promise like the bread disbelievers. Some were unsure how to respond to a hungry land with a promise that was taking so long to come to pass. Some just didn’t want to be lumped together with either the strong breaders or the disbelievers, so they just kept their strongly held beliefs to themselves.

Then one day…it was just an ordinary day. No strong breaders were making a stink. A few disbelievers had just finished a big campaign to feed everyone in one small neighborhood just outside the palace. There was royal pronouncement, “bread is coming,” and as soon as the pronouncement was made the bread was there. The people feasted on bread that was more delicious than their best memories of the first feast.

The strong breaders ate. They didn’t try to put together the pieces and figure out where the wheat had come from to make all that bread. The disbelievers ate. They weren’t interested in arguing that it was ordinary bread. No one could argue that. The quietist ate.  There were no smug eaters, in fact everyone was just so delighted to be filling their bellies once more that the old divisions just faded. Strong bread theorists and disbelievers shared butter, quietists sat with them and passed the jam.

The bread brought unity. The strongly held beliefs that once divided everyone seemed so insignificant now that their was hunger satisfied.


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