July 31, 2020 Message

July 31, 2020 Message (pdf)

July 31, 2020

HOP ON THE MEAL TRAIN Clare Newcomer has arrange a meal train for Ann Lochbaum as she recovers from surgery at home. After I send out this e-message, I will forward an e-mail from Clare with the link to participate in the “Meal Train.”
In that email, you will find a button that says, “Open the Meal Train.” Click on that button and you will be taken to Meal Train site. 1) Click on “Review All Instructions” and you will get Ann Lochbaum’s address, preferred delivery time, and food preferences and dislikes.  2) Then select a date on the calendar that is not already taken and sign up to bring a meal that day. A reminder — 1) Please only bring enough food for one person for that day’s meal and the next. (Too much food will lead to an overstuffed refrigerator/freezer and waste.) 2) Know your meals will be enjoyed and appreciated.
Keeping casting those seeds of God’s love whenever you are able.

Korben Defriece 07/31

Mary Grabill 07/31

 

 

 

Bill & Lynda Byers 08/01

 

 

Kristin Andrews 08/02

Sari Kilheffer 08/02

 

Pause in God’s Word – Matthew 14:13-21 (from Pastor Dave Kaplan)

A relaxing and renewing getaway.  That’s what we hope and pray for Pr. Alessandri after several months of stressful ministry in the midst of a pandemic.  We wish her good weather, fun adventures with her sister, quality time alone for reflection and prayer, and few interruptions from the outside world!  A relaxing and renewing getaway.  That’s what we would have hoped and prayed for Jesus at the beginning of this Gospel text after several months of stressful ministry in the midst of mounting opposition and most recently (in the story that directly precedes this Gospel), the death of his close friend John the Baptist.  Good weather, fun adventures with his disciples, quality time alone, few interruptions – ah, it just wasn’t to be!  The crowds found him, followed him and flocked around him.  Resent their presence?  Not at all.  He had compassion for them and cured their sick, and Mark adds, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.

Hungry sheep.   At the end of a long day of teaching and healing they had nothing to eat.  And few prospects of finding anything right away: this is a deserted place, and the hour is now late.  Thankfully the disciples were there to remind him of such practical matters as mealtime!  The obvious solution, which they offered as good advice to their master: time for the benediction and dismissal!  Send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves. 

Thanks, fellas.  Time just slipped away from me!  OK folks, listen up!  My friends just reminded me of how late it’s getting, and you haven’t had lunch or supper. Sorry, there’s nothing to eat out here, so I’m going to let you go so you still have time to buy food on the way home.  Can you imagine yourself saying that?  Of course – that’s exactly what I would have said – or at least words very similar!  Can we imagine Jesus saying that?  Certainly not, but perhaps only because we’ve heard the story in all its versions (one of the few stories before the Passion to appear in all four Gospels) so many times before.  It’s what the disciples advised and expected Jesus to say.

Instead in Mathew’s version of the story, Jesus turned the tables on the disciples’ advice.  They need not go away; you give them something to eat.  Was he kidding? Was he being sarcastic?  Was he pointing out their obvious human frailty?  One thing sure, he couldn’t be serious – how in the world could they feed all those people when all they had was, well you know, five loaves and two fish.  Bring them here to me.  What a relief – the problem was out of their hands.  And in words that were a foretaste of the foretaste in the Upper Room and at the altar last weekend, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the people…

No. Look again: he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowd.  Jesus provided the blessing and the sufficiency.  Jesus transformed the mustard seed offering into a meal that would feed thousands.  But it was the disciples who gave that crowd something to eat.  Turns out that Jesus’ initial comment to them was not a criticism, but a commissioning for the work that they would be doing not only on that hillside but throughout their ministry.  And he speaks those same words to us as well:  You give them something to eat.

We give them something to eat.  People in third world nations and in our own land.  Children in Sudan who walk five miles daily to fetch a pail of water.  Lines of cars stretching for miles in COVID hot spots because the virus has stripped the families inside of employment, and now they wait and wait and wait in food lines.  And while Congress argues about whether and how much unemployment compensation to grant, we dare to echo Isaiah’s words in today’s first reading: Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come buy and eat!  Come buy wine and milk without money and without price (55:1).  We give our resources as meager as they seem: a few cans, a few boxes, a few zucchinis from the garden, a few dollars – offering them first to the Lord who blesses and multiplies beyond measure, and then entrusts us with distributing to those in need through Haven Congregation, through the Community Food Bank, through REACH, through Lutheran World Hunger and a hundred other agencies; or we find creative ways to do it on our own!  And people receive daily bread because Jesus commissions and empowers us to give them something to eat.

We give them something to eat.  People who crave more than just a good meal after a long day.  People whose hunger transcends daily bread.  We recognize in this story the hint of another: Jesus took the loaves of bread and fish, and blessed and broke.  Those verbs are not accidental.  We recognize his action here to be the same as in the meal he would host sometime later in the upper room: Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it, gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat, this is my body…” No longer just bread for a meal, but the body of the Lord to be given for all on the cross.  No longer just bread for a meal, but the true presence of the crucified and risen Lord as he comes to us in the bread and wine of Holy Communion, which he calls us to share as well.  Through our gracious words and actions we become his gracious presence to others, living bread from heaven, to satisfy the deepest hunger of their souls.  And people receive the bread of life because Jesus commissions us and empowers us to give them something to eat.

Prayer: The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord, and you give them their food in due season.  Help us, who continually receive your bountiful generosity, to be partners in sharing daily bread and the bread of life with all in need, through Jesus, the living bread for the world.  Amen.

Hymns: For the Fruit of All Creation, ELW 679

Lord, Whose Love in Humble Service, ELW 712

We Come to the Hungry Feast, ELW 479

You Satisfy the Hungry Heart, ELW 484