Pentecost 10, July 29, 2018

Title:Pentecost 10, July 29, 2018

 Pentecost 10, July 29, 2018 (full size gallery)


Another hot, tropical week with abundant rain. Ecumenical Bible study went on their August recess.

The theme this week in the readings is abundance. How do we provide out of our abundance ? What is hunger ? In this week’s lectionary, multiplication of food given to Elisha demonstrates God’s power to provide abundantly in the Old Testament.

Paul exhorts the Ephesians to use their spiritual gifts to build up the Body of Christ. Jesus multiplies five loaves and two fish to feed the hungry crowd. The feeding of the 5,000 is the only miracle of Jesus’ ministry recorded in all four gospels.

How do we feed people? This past Sunday the sermon was John’s rendering of the Feeding of the 5,000. It’s present in each Gospel. And it can bear many meanings in its multiple distributions.

Hunger is multidimensional. People are hungry not only for bread but also for dignity, meaning, and happiness. Thus, we might ask the same question Jesus did: “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?”  We follow Jesus by our own peculiar call to cure, heal or enrich the lives of others

In the slideshow we see St. Peter’s “Ecumenical Bible Study” held in each Wednesday just before going on a month’s vacation. We feed people through out learning and understanding and they feed us by presenting a different viewpoint which we need to hear.

We feed people in art whether through paintings stained glass windows or photography. In the slide show there is a wonderful stained-glass window from France of this story which shows the vast panorama. We provide another way of seeing our diverse and wonderful world.

There are organizations imitating the story in diverse ways.  The group “Feedback” in England focuses on own version of the 5,000 waste of food. “They work to glean crops from farms that would be wasted also but host public events to bring awareness to this issue. They explain it this way "At each event, we serve up a delicious communal feast for 5000 people made entirely out of food that would otherwise have been wasted, bringing together a coalition of organizations that offer the solutions to food waste, raising the issue up the political agenda and inspiring new local initiatives against food waste."  Slides show their work in diverse places – England, Italy and California.

There are nearly one billion malnourished people in the world, but the approximately 40 million tons of food wasted by US households, retailers and food services each year would be enough to satisfy the hunger of every one of them .   

The irrigation water used globally to grow food that is wasted would be enough for the domestic needs of 9 billion people – the number expected on the planet by 2050. 

Another group, Feeding of the Five Thousand (5000) Outreach Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help to change the world by changing individual lives, often in poverty-stricken areas. “We all know the importance of food to human survival and we all know for a fact that there are many persons here in our island, Jamaica, that go to bed hungry every night. Feeding of the Five Thousand (5000) was founded by Jordan Bennett at the age of 17, as he had a deep desire for helping needy persons.”

Feeding moves into supplying other needs, such as school supplies. This past Saturday, St. Peter’s went to Caroline High School to work with Caroline’s Promise to distribute spiral notebooks to fill 500 book bags.  And there was a long line!

On Sunday, we had two families sharing the food at St. Peter’s from their farms. David and Gibby brought basket of tomatoes from Dave’s farm. Catherine and Phil Fitzhugh brought eggs from their farm.

Phil fed the people through his sermon on Sunday.  Church services are important for hearing sermons and with them the scriptures but in the pictures you can also see the  sharing the peace. Feeding the 5,000 is involved in fellowship and care which comes through the church.  We are bound to each in the sharing of food, the heart of it is found in the Eucharist.

The task in feeing people is complicated by its many forms and the immensity of the task in terms of volume. The takeaway for us is that the power is already within us in who we are to do extraordinary things.  You have to have the find that power and have the nerve to use it productively and without fear. 

Getting back to the Gospel  a sermon from Evan D. Garner in St. John’s Decatur, Alabama provides a good wrap-up to our jobs as Christians “As followers of Jesus, it is our calling to feed these people, indeed to feed all hungry people. It is our job as the leaders of the church, as the stewards of the resources entrusted to us by God and by our parish, to count costs and estimate resources. But it is never our job as the people of God to allow an attitude of scarcity to overcome a theology of abundance.