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2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-22  ?????

The king commanded Joab, Abishai and Ittai, “Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake.” And all the troops heard the king giving orders concerning Absalom to each of the commanders.

David’s army marched out of the city to fight Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. There Israel’s troops were routed by David’s men, and the casualties that day were great—twenty thousand men. The battle spread out over the whole countryside, and the forest swallowed up more men that day than the sword.

Now Absalom happened to meet David’s men. He was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom’s hair got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going.

2 Samuel 18:15 15 And ten of Joab’s armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him.

2 Samuel 18:31-33 New International Version

31 Then the Cushite arrived and said, “My lord the king, hear the good news! The Lord has vindicated you today by delivering you from the hand of all who rose up against you.”

32 The king asked the Cushite, “Is the young man Absalom safe?”

The Cushite replied, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up to harm you be like that young man.”

33 The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!”[a]

Ephesians 4:25-5:2  New International Version

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.


John 6:35, 41-51

Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’


Bread and Water
John 6:35, 41-51
The Rev Dr Dianne Carpenter
8 August 2021


When I – born into the moderate affluence of middle-class America – think of Bread and Water I think of being deprived: locked in a cell with only Bread and Water. When I – thinking like a child of the first world- when I think of bread and water I think of being deprived – locked in MY room with only bread and water and my phone and my iPad and my TV and my bed and my computer and…  Bread and water is the food of captives, criminals, people who are being limited in their existence.  Bread and water are the bare minimum to survive.

When I open my eyes I see that the world needs this simple necessity. Food for the poor on TV]] When I hear of empty shelves in grocery stores at home and abroad and hear about famine in global communities my mind slips back to the peasants of France who asking for bread were told to eat “cake” by Marie Antonette and I remember vaguely in one history lesson having the childhood illusion of sweet iced cake by Betty Crocker dispelled when I heard it was the crusty deposits of  the ovens that were referred to as “cake.”  And then I come back to the aromas of the bakeries and think about how different breads are made:  some are full of air and others are hearty and substantial and flavored with a variety of grains.  Indeed, large portions of the world, a third world are full of hunger and want.  To them, bread is essential and with it clean water.  The people of God knew this poverty in the march from Egypt – in the wilderness.  Many people in the world still walk many miles for clean water. 

We are FORTUNATE – or are we?  Now that we find ourselves in the Promised Land – a great nation -ARE WE FREE?  This is where the people of God were.  They were in the Promised Land – but they were not free.  Like them, according to this passage, people of the first world have their own captivity.  We allow ourselves to be captured over and over again by the oppressive overkill of our society.

Bread and water are the bare minimum to survive and Jesus comes saying to people of varying privilege: I am the bread and water fit for captives of God.  I am the feast. I am all you need to survive. He says this not to strip us of our privilege and of our choices, but to set us free from the captivity they impose.  A captivity which dictates so many judgments on human beings that spirits are crushed by self-doubt and driven by obsession.  If we are all captive of something would we rather not choose God – who frees us to act with conscience– than be seduced by a society that at best is a rule of law but prides itself on teaching people how to evade those laws with impunity if one is privileged.

Bread and water remind me that we are all captives of something- and if the problem of captivity is universal then the problem of how to be free is equally universal.  This is the question of faith- how do we choose the Lord who frees in a world of gods that Dominate  [violence]?

In the process of writing my dissertation my reading included all the works of Georgia Harness… In Religious Living the forward reads… written in 1937 and reissued in 1957

It is nothing more than the call of the prophets culminating in Jesus THE CHRIST! And ringing forth over and over.  Each one must be captured by something.

Harness lost her beloved father to illness and death just two years after the book was written.    Some people say that he told her:  “The books you have written are good books because wise men say they are – but will you write more about Jesus” 

[Faith after Doubt book study with the Bishop and the author in September]

In a world of Obstacles to faith in God Jesus emphasizes the satisfying fullness of life that comes with faith.

Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty

The  challenge of faith is to attain the freedom of Christ’s captivity and then to proclaim that to a world in need.  Some people here today are good people- who are working toward their salvation- who are working on their freedom from captivity [childhood abuse, addition, tape playing etc.]  Some people here today are working on the world’s salvation [liberation of the physically, emotionally and psychologically challenged], working on his universal freedom.  Jesus focuses us.  He calls us to overcome the obstacles to religious living:  Life in a thing-centered civilization.  “Jesus made God and human personality the supreme objects of our devotion; our society does not.  His interests were primarily in worth not in use, and as a consequence he was appreciative of persons while we are possessive of things.” (captured by media beauty, wealth)

Jung (psychologist) once said:

I have a Red Indian friend… When we were once speaking confidentially about the white man, he said t me:  “We don’t understand the whites, they are always wanting something- always restless- always looking for something… We can’t understand them.  They have such sharp noses, such thin cruel lips, such lines in their faces.  We think they are all crazy.

The people who live in the natural world remind us that we have used our environment rather than “worthed it”.  When I went to the zoo in Portland 30 years EVERY SPECIES ON DISPLAY WAS ENDANGERED!  As a child we went to see the foreign and the exciting but not the endangered.  Why has “I buy therefore I am” replaced “I think therefore I am.”

Another easy god that the people of Israel identified is the government of our nations.  Fallible, at best governed by laws that “float on a sea of values” and have lost their moorings!  Government is good but when it does not follow the Prince of Peace but takes on MARS the god of war we hear that we cannot negotiate peace in Palestine- even still.  Mexico, Yemen, Afganistan, Syria, Nigeria have been among the most deadly conflicts of the past year…There are too many obligations and we do not have time for God.


Protective custody- God’s captivity… Bread and water



1 Church St, Harwich, MA 02645
508 432-3734