Sunday Sermon – Brenda Tibbetts, AiM

8th SUNDAY after PENTECOST                                                                                                                               

Aug. 3, 2014 – Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Virginia, MN

TEXTS:             Isaiah 55:1-5; Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21; Matthew 14:13-21

THEMES:         Invitation.  God provides. We are invited/called to help in sharing God’s providence, to participate in the restoration, the building of God’s rule.

OPENING PRAYER:                                                                                                                                    

A MIRACLE OF TRUST

Grace and peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, grace and peace.

What are you hungry for?  Another way of asking the question might be “What makes your heart sing? “ That is a question asked of clergy as they apply for sabbatical grants.  It is a question that I keep coming back to as well.  What makes your heart sing?  In other words, what feeds your spirit?  What gives you that extra burst of energy and a sense of deep satisfaction in your soul?

A delicious meal spent in the company of wonderful friends?

Hitting that walk-off home run and celebrating the win with your team mates?

Helping someone in need when you have the resources to help with what they need?

Holding a new baby?  Watching your grandchildren grow?

Surprising someone with an anonymous gift you know they need?

The one verse of scripture you’ve read many times but for this moment, it touches your heart?

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Whatever it is that we think makes our heart sing, is also that which we pursue to feed the hungering in our soul.

Isaiah tells us the source to find satisfaction for our souls, our bodies, our relationships – the LORD of invitation and mercy.  The Psalmist too, reminds us that all we have is from God, who delights in providing for all of God’s creation – at just the right time.  God knows our every need.  God provides – even in times of our doubting.  God provides.  The Miracle of Trust.

Jesus said, if you want to know what God is like, look at me, my life, my compassion.  As we journey this summer through the parables, today’s parable of the Feeding of the 5,000 is well known.  But as well known as it is, it is a good thing to unpack it a bit more.

Matthew’s gospel gives us the setting.  Jesus has just learned of his cousin John the Baptist’s violent death.  Jesus desires time alone for grieving and for pouring out his heart to God his Father.  And yet, for anyone of us who have experienced grief in our lives, we know that life doesn’t stop and stand still while we are grieving.  Life goes on. The Miracle of Trust.

The Feeding of the 5,000 is the only parable of Jesus to show up in all four gospels.  What does it reveal about God, about Jesus about who we are called to be in the world?  The disciples and the crowd converge on Jesus.  Yet, even in the midst of Jesus’ deep grief, he had compassion for the crowd with all its needs, hopes and desires.  He had compassion on them.

Jesus saw the need.  He had compassion.  And he invited others to participate in the ministry of providing the good news of God’s love, God’s providence to a needy crowd, a hungry world.  If we get hung up on how the miracle happened – with only 5 loaves and 2 fish – we will do just that, get hung up on asking the wrong question.  The miracle of feeding that many with so little has nothing to do with how it could have happened, but why it happened.  Jesus said, “You feed them.”  How many of us would have been spluttering, “But Jesus, are you crazy with grief and not thinking clearly?  We don’t have enough.  We don’t have enough.  We don’t have enough.”

Jesus didn’t buy their thinking or buy into their fear.  He told the disciples to bring whatever little they found or had to Jesus.  Jesus looked to heaven…and he blessed it…and he broke the bread.  And he gave them to the disciples… (Where have we seen and heard that before?!)  And the disciples were sent out to feed the crowds.  “And all ate and were filled: and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full.  And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.”  (Mt. 14:20-21)  The Miracle of Trust.

Many debate how that many people could possibly have been fed with such a small offering.  I wonder if we are asking the right questions in regard to the hungers of our hearts?  Are we looking to God for our daily needs?  Are we seeing the crowds Jesus sees, with hearts of compassion?  Can you hear Jesus’ invitation for you to let go and offer your gifts, and in the offering/the sharing, all are blessed?  Offer your fears to the Lord, and in return through our giving, there is always more than enough…

The prophet Isaiah reminds us, “Hey, yo – listen up!  Why are you spending your money for momentary pleasures that don’t fill you up, and why are you working like crazy for that which does not satisfy?  The LORD invites you to listen, and come to him” and we will know the steadfast, sure love, the everlasting covenant of God’s love that satisfies our deepest needs, hopes and desires.

Where are you looking for deep satisfaction?  Come.  You are invited to the Lord’s Table to “Taste and see that the LORD is good” where we are loved and forgiven, strengthened and fed; like the disciples, to go and give the crowds something to eat…some word or deed that depicts God’s love for the whole world.  Some listening ear or volunteer work that models the compassion of Christ.  In the giving of yourself in the service of Christ, you will hear your heart sing.  The Miracle of Trust.  Amen.