Aug. 3, 2014 – Feeding the 5,000 – and more

Title:Aug. 3, 2014 – Feeding the 5,000 – and more

  Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014  (full size gallery)

There were 30 in church. Weather was threatening on the river side but there was no rain. We filled the sandwich board with large photos of Vacation Bible School, 2014 which filled up 4 days of the preceding week. We had a lot of help and the 8 students thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We also hung the "tree of life" which they decorated in the front of the church. We added pictures taken during the last day of each student.  

Charles read for the first time as lector and did a great job and he was told so by many it the congregation. Catherine after a call from Barbara Segar yesterday displayed a shape singing book during the announcements which interested a number of people

The sermon was on the Feeeding of the 5,000, the Gospel lesson from Matthew.  Catherine recounted the disciples desire to send the people away since they did not have the resources to feed them and equated them to many small churches struggling with making a difference in the community. Big church envy!

"But still, it’s fair to say that when it comes to the needs of the world around us, we could join the disciples in saying to God and to one another, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish,” and thinking, even if we don’t say it aloud—“And that’s not enough to do much with—after all, we’re just a small congregation.”

"At this point, I find this quote from Anne Graham Lotz useful.  “If all you ever attempt is that which you know you can do or have the resources for, how will you ever discover what God can do? “ 

"Please, congregation, do your part in this discernment process by being diligent about praying for St Peter’s every day—praying about what we as a small church can offer up for God’s blessing and for God’s work in the world.

"And here’s the other thing. Anything we decide to offer up begins with each one of us.

"That’s right—you and I are each the five loaves of bread and two fish. And it’s easy to think that there’s isn’t enough of us to go around. Sometimes I am highly tempted to pray this prayer—“God, send the hungry crowd away—I can’t do all this by myself.”

"The more useful prayer is this—“Here I am, Lord. One person. Not enough to go around. But I’m offering myself to you. Please, would you bless me, break me and use me? “

"God answers that prayer."

It was a special Sunday at St. Peter’s – a Coffee Hour celebrating the upcoming wedding of Justin and Karen.

After church there was a "prelude to Coffee Hour" just outside the parish house with drinks and toasts. Presents were provided to Justin and Karen in a basket.  Nancy recalled how Helmut was supposed to play for Justin when he proposed to Karen before Christmas last year in Fredericksburg. Apparently it was raining heavy and Nancy had to contact him that Justin was proposing to Karen after a carriage ride. It wasn’t raining in Fredericksburg!  So they rushed to Fredericksburg after having retired for the evening. Apparently, Nancy and Laura hid under the seats of the car parked at the Baptist church to witness the scene. Today, Helmut played "Ave Maria" for them today while we sipped sparkling cider, orange juice with champagne and mimosa punch. Alex and Justin provided toast. Justin thanked the Church for being with him through his life.

Nancy and Cookie were at the church early preparing drinks and food. The food in Coffee Hour included a wonderful salmon and bernaise sauce, ham sandwiches, chicken salad, a bean dish, cheese and a celebratory cake. It was sponsored by the Wicks and Bowens. 

Canon Lance Ousley’s message from the Diocese of Olympia, Washington for this week:

"There is a difference between stewardship and ownership. The steward takes care of that which is owned by another party for the true owner’s purpose. And God is the true owner of the "possessions" entrusted into our care for the purposes which God intends. These possessions include the full gamut of our blessings from food, clothing, and shelter, to financial and material assets, our gifts and talents, and the good news of the Gospel.  

" Isaiah records the invitation of the Great Feast everlasting in the new creation of the world through the realization of God’s kingdom come. Note that this invitation is offered to a community in exile and to its captors, as well. The invitation to enter the promised land flowing with water, wine, milk and bread (necessities of life) is universal. The Host seems to scoff at the idea of spending money on anything other than necessities of life, unless of course it might be to provide for necessities of others. To spend money on things that are not "bread" is to waste it on things that "do not satisfy." The inference here, with the backdrop of Deuteronomy 31:16, 20-21, is that to do so is idolatrous. But in this new kingdom flowing with abundance life (true life) is available for all that eat the "rich food" of "what is good," living in the everlasting covenant in God’s reign. Here one can "buy food without price, with no money" because all things belong to God and all things are shared freely by God, satisfying all who come. This echoes Psalm 24:1, "The earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it." And so we are merely stewards, not owners, and in God’s kingdom there is more than enough to meet the needs of all.

" In Romans this week Paul runs down the litany of blessings entrusted to Israel in grieving anguish for those who do not steward these blessings that are meant to bless the world. In hording the blessings they become "cut off" (a play on circumcision) from the true blessings of God’s kingdom. In true steward’s fashion Paul is willing to give it up himself to share it all with them if only they would accept it and bless others with the promise. Paul’s words explain that these blessings are not Israel’s to keep, but they are Israel’s to bless the world sharing God’s promises with all.

" The feeding of the 5000 in our Gospel lesson communicates well God’s purpose for blessings entrusted into our care , the fulfillment of God’s kingdom reigning on earth among every family, language, people, and nation and enacted through us! The abundance of God’s kingdom is all around us, but we are blinded by "ownership" of many things. The disciples were blinded by their "ownership" of time, wanting to send the people away to be fed on their own. They also are blinded by their ownership of the five loaves and two fish, possibly hording it for their own use. (Do we remember what happened with the widow of Zarephath?) Jesus commands them to give up their ownership of these things, telling them, "You give them something to eat" and for them to offer the five loaves and two fish. And then there were twelve baskets full left over after feeding 5000 men, not even counting the women and children who were fed. Remember also, this is Galilee a region diverse with both Jews and Gentiles, including Roman centurions. We can assume that the crowd fed there at Tabgha reflected the diversity of the region, consistent with the operative theology of sharing bread with the hungry. Jesus uses the moment to teach us all that the Great Feast (Isaiah 25:6-10 and Isaiah 55:1-5) is underway and we come to the table when we give up our "ownership" and steward our blessings, giving life to all. This is in great contrast to the death feast of Herod’s birthday dinner in the preceding verses of this chapter with John the Baptist’ head brought in on a platter! The invitation to the Great Feast is clear, given in the imperative, "You give them something to eat."

"Will we come to the Feasting Table, or will we starve holding onto those things which do not satisfy?" 

Leave a Comment