” . . . smelled rotten . . . ”

“Each had gathered just what he needed. Moses said to them, ‘No one is to keep any of it for tomorrow.’ But some of them did not listen to Moses and saved part of it. The next morning it was full of worms and smelled rotten, and Moses was angry with them.” (Exodus 16:18b-20)

We have a superb baker in our church.  Her cinnamon rolls, banana nut bread, dinner rolls, and just about anything else she makes, are revered by all.  Since her dinner rolls are so treasured, I decided it might be a real treat for our shut-ins if I could take her dinner rolls with me and use them as the bread when I shared Holy Communion.  Our baker agreed and keeps me a supply of dinner rolls, packed two to a ziplock bag, frozen in the church’s freezer.  Our shut-ins think it’s a real treat to share Holy Communion with our baker’s special rolls.  They remember eating the rolls at various church dinners when they were able to attend.  They remember the tie that binds through Holy Communion and through the special rolls as well.

In early June I set out to make two home visits in the same afternoon, so I tossed two packages of rolls in the briefcase I carry with me to share Holy Communion.  The first visit took longer than I anticipated so I left my briefcase in the car and went on to my next commitment.  I was away for a couple of weeks so I didn’t need the briefcase.  Last week when I got the briefcase to make another home visit I was surprised to find what I had forgotten – plus a lot more.  The photo above simply reflects the results of two dinner rolls sealed in a ziplock bag, and long forgotten.

Here’s the part that makes me wonder – that bag was sealed.  All that you see inside was there all along, even when the rolls were about to be eaten.  It was my neglect that allowed them to turn from delicious, treasured morsels to inedible art projects.  Had I remembered and shared the rolls with Patti that evening they would have been a welcomed treat.  Instead, my negligence led to a mess.

It strikes me as a simple lesson.  We are very complex beings created by God.  We are endowed with so much good as well as the ability to choose between good and evil.  With time, attention, and prayerful practice we can nurture the good and share ourselves as the “bread for the world,” which Jesus intended when he invites us to the table for Holy Communion.  If we forget or fail to nurture the good, we run the risk that whatever else lies within us, whatever anger, hate, greed, prejudice, bad habits, misconceptions, or perverted propaganda we’ve been exposed to, will have it’s way.  Instead of being part of the “bread of life” for others, we become the means of ruination.

I am reminded by Ellie Wiesel, that in times such as these, remaining neutral is not an option.  Sticking with my metaphor of the week, remaining neutral is like forgetting the dinner rolls.  “Something,” not “Nothing,” happens.  When God’s good is not nurtured, lived, and proclaimed, evil finds the means to grow.  Worship, study, prayer, fellowship, and acts of service in the name of the Kingdom of God are all means for nurturing the good God has given us.  I don’t want to rot and become part of the destruction.  I pray that God will keep me busy nurturing the divine gift of goodness I’ve been given.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,


Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My other book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”


~ by revgenelson on July 13, 2016.

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