|Pentecost 20, Year A||October 18, 2020||Pentecost 20, Proper 24, Year A||I Thessalonians 1:1-10, Psalm 96|
|Pentecost 19, Year A||October 11, 2020||Pentecost 19, Proper 23, Year A||Philippians 4:1-9|
|Pentecost 18, Year A||October 4, 2020||Pentecost 18, Year A||Isaiah 5:1-7, Psalm 80:7-14, Philippians 3:4b-14, Matthew 21:33-46|
|Pentecost 17, Year A – Elizabeth Heimbach||September 27, 2020||Pentecost 17, Proper 21 Year A||Matthew 21:23-32|
|Pentecost 16, Year A||September 20, 2020||Pentecost 16, Proper 20, Year A 2020 The Season of Creation||Matthew 20:1-16|
|Pentecost 15, Year A||September 13, 2020||Pentecost 15, Proper 19||Genesis 50:15-21, Matthew 18:21-35|
|Pentecost 14, Year A||September 6, 2020||Pentecost 14, Proper 18, Year A||Ezekiel 33:7-11, Romans 13:8-14, Matthew 18:15-20|
|Pentecost 13, Year A||August 30, 2020||Pentecost, 13, Proper 17, Year A||Romans 12:9-21, Matthew 16:21-28|
|Pentecost 12, Year A||August 23, 2020||Pentecost 12, , Proper 16, Year A||Isaiah 51:1-6, Ps 138, Romans 12:1-8, Matthew 16:13-20|
|Pentecost 11, Year A||August 16, 2020||Pentecost 11, Proper 15, Year A||Isaiah 56:1, 6-8; Matthew 15:10-28|
|Pentecost 10, Year A||August 9, 2020||Pentecost 10, Proper 14, Year A||I Kings 19:9-18, Romans 10:5-15, Matthew 14:22-33|
|➤Pentecost 9, Year A||August 2, 2020||Pentecost 9, Proper 13, Year A||Psalm 145:8-9, 15-22; Matthew 14:13-21|
|Pentecost 8, Year A||July 26, 2020||Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 12, 2020||Romans 8:26-39, Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52|
|Pentecost 7, Year A||July 19, 2020||Pentecost 7, Proper 11, Year A||Romans 8:12-25, Matthew 13:24-30,36-43|
|Pentecost 6, Year A – Evening||July 12, 2020||Pentecost 6, Proper 10, Year A||Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23|
Pentecost 9, Year A
Sermon Date:August 2, 2020
Scripture: Psalm 145:8-9, 15-22; Matthew 14:13-21
Liturgy Calendar: Pentecost 9, Proper 13, Year A
Jesus withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.”
Jesus had compassion for them.
Compassion is “a feeling of sorrow or deep tenderness for one who is suffering or experiencing misfortune.” Literally, the word means suffering with another, from the Latin prefix “com” , with and the root “pati” which means “to suffer.” So Jesus suffered alongside this crowd and took the time and the energy to heal their sick.
In having compassion for this crowd, Jesus provided the same compassion that God had for them, the same compassion that God has for us when we suffer.
In the psalm appointed for today, Psalm 145, the psalmist reminds us that “the Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and of great kindness.” And then the psalmist describes what God’s compassion looks and feels like.
The Lord is loving to everyone and to the whole creation.
“The Lord upholds all those who fall; he lifts up those who are bowed down.” The hands of God are open wide. God satisfies every creature. God is righteous, loving, near to those who call upon God faithfully. God fulfills the desire of those who fear him, and hears their cries and helps them, and preserves them.
God is full of compassion for us. When we suffer, God suffers alongside us, and heals us, as Jesus healed the people in the crowd that day. As that old hymn says, we can lean on the everlasting arms of God, safe and secure from all alarms, because God is full of compassion for each one of us.
Compassion is a hallmark of Christian discipleship, too. Jesus spent all day having compassion on the people in the crowd, who had come on foot from all the towns.
When night started to fall, the disciples get nervous. For them, compassion was a limited commodity. Time for the crowd to go home. What would the crowd eat out there in that deserted place?
Does this situation feel familiar to you? You see a need, and you worry about the fact that there is a need, but you can’t really do anything about the need. You don’t have what you need to meet the need, so you hope that the need will just go away.
But Jesus says to the disciples, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”
The disciples think that Jesus is asking them to do the impossible, because they only have five loaves and two fish.
But when they bring what they have to Jesus, Jesus looks up to heaven, blesses and breaks the loaves, and the disciples find that they have enough to feed the crowd, and even have twelve baskets full of leftovers when everyone has eaten.
The world needs compassion. We are the disciples. But we don’t have enough resources to meet the needs. That’s why I’m glad we have this gospel story, because the story reminds us that God comes alongside us in our own inadequacies. God takes what we offer up, blesses it, breaks it, and then we take what we have and do what we can and we find that we have more than enough to do what God is asking us to do.
Just a few minutes ago, we heard Michael Eldridge sing “Break thou the bread of life.” His story is an example of offering up what you have to God, and then God blesses it, breaks it open and you have enough, even if you only have one voice.
Michael grew up in a singing family, and sang in a glee club at Purdue when he was in college working to become a pharmacist. He often thought to himself that “I may never be part of music so good on earth.”
When Michael got out of college, he still had a love for singing, but he hadn’t been able to find another group to sing in. And then a friend told him about an app that lets you sing the parts of a song on top of one another and then record a video with it. And as he says, he was hooked.
“This was the spark I needed,” Michael says. “I decided to invest in proper equipment and learn as much as I could about recording and producing music. Trust me, there was much to learn. I encountered many obstacles that could have completely halted my work, but I pressed on. I continually prayed that God would help me and that God would be glorified by my efforts. And God has helped me to overcome at each stumbling block. My greatest desire is to serve my God with the gift He has given me. Today I can sing, and so I will. If I can sing tomorrow, I’ll sing tomorrow too. But the highest goal for which I fight daily is to sing praises to God in God’s presence in heaven. What a day it will be!”
One man, four voices, four part harmony. Thousands of followers able to sing and praise God with Michael’s help in this time when we are starving to sing together.
Offering up what you have, and finding that you have more than enough to feed the hungry crowd.
We disciples don’t have enough resources or knowledge to even figure out how to be present to the needs of all the people hurting in our nation right now because of the systematic discrimination they have experienced due to their skin color.
All we can do is to offer up what we have to God, so that God can use what we have to help bring healing and wholeness into such brokenness.
So a group of us will offer up our time, our willingness and our hope and ask God for the courage to begin the conversation about race together in August with the help of the Sacred Ground curriculum, developed by The Episcopal Church to help us learn our history, engage with one another in conversation, and then to respond in faith, hope and love—and hopefully be part of a compassionate response to the brokenness in our nation, to be part of the healing, to be part of the reconciliation, to be part of having justice for all become a reality, not just a dream.
Who knows how God will use those little loaves and fish we’ll offer up to God. But if we offer up what we have, God will bless us, break us open and we will have enough to do what God will give us to do to have compassion and to be part of the healing that God is planning for this nation. We can pray that God will help us and that God will be glorified by our efforts, and that God will help us to overcome all the stumbling blocks along the way.
On his website, Michael Eldridge offers these words of encouragement to all of us. Michael says, “I encourage my Christian brethren to seek to glorify God. I have been given some degree of an ability. Whether or not my ability is greater or lesser than anyone else’s is irrelevant. I must use that ability! You, too, have been given something that you can use to glorify God. Maybe your gift is encouragement and empathy. I pray, use it! Perhaps your gift is the work of service. Please, labor faithfully! Perhaps yours is the gift of nurture. May your heart be ever warm and tender toward those whom you serve. Whatever you can do, I urge you brethren, do so with all your might. May God be glorified by every soul in every corner of the earth!”
For discussion: You are a disciple. In this place, in this moment in your life, who or what needs your compassion? Where are you being called to suffer alongside someone or something in God’s creation? What will you offer up to God for blessing and breaking open? How will you feed the hungry crowd around you?