The sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion are dear to the heart of Rev. Gregg Davison of Marshalltown's Trinity Lutheran Church, and he explores the later in his first book, "A Little Book About a Big Gift, the Meaning of the Eucharist for God's People."
He explained his purpose in writing: "I am fortunate to live and serve within what I call a Eucharistic community - a community where in faith we recognize Jesus in the earthly elements of bread and wine, and in the earthly elements of one another," said Davison.
"By this I mean the Eucharist is given for you and me personally, and yet it is given for the sake of the whole world. It is God's gift to us and to all people that we might be filled with the life and hope that is Christ."
His selection of the Eucharist as the subject will be no surprise to Trinity parishioners, who know homilies and other writings frequently have a Eucharistic theme.
In all church services, Davison invites all, regardless of denomination, to share in the Eucharist.
The Eucharist as a gift from Jesus, the Eucharist as a bond which unites Christians, the Eucharist as a community, are favorite themes for the veteran pastor.
He reprised them in the book, using 12 short reflections to share his message.
"That's Jesus, Put Him in Your Mouth," and "Old Mother Hubbard and the Eucharist" are two.
In the first, Davison said his experience of preparing children, seven and eight years old, for First Communion is that they take him at his word that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Jesus.
"This is not a hard sell," he said. "They are eager and ready to believe all these wonderful things."
In the second, Davison uses the familiar nursery rhyme to
convey the message that many in the world - including the United States - are hungry.
"Our situation of abundance makes it almost impossible to understand the power food has as a religious symbol," he said. "Food plays a prominent role in our Biblical faith. It is in the food of bread and wine that we receive Jesus Christ.
Throughout the Bible we see that feeding the hungry and eliminating the causes of hunger is one of God's top priorities and it must be our priority as well."
The book serves a dual purpose - sales will benefit one of Davison favorite charities - the House of Compassion.
The local homeless shelter and soup kitchen, which also provides a host of other services to the needy, is struggling financially because of increased demands on its services.
(Davison, among other Marshalltonians, was instrumental in creating the HoC).
"I think it is appropriate that the proceeds from one's purchase supports the mission that is beyond our parish life," he said. "Purchase will aid the HoC in its mission of feeding, sheltering, and offering hope in the name of Jesus."
Trinity members and others can expect to see more Davison writings.
He plans a future book on the meaning of Baptism for God's people, he said.
For more information, contact the church, 641-7537769.