8/1/2018 10:47:42 AM
July 29 Enough Bread
Children’s sermon: Todays Bible readings are about enough bread to feed a large crowd. Abundance. What did we have a bunch of in the last week. Last week we received 2 trillion gallons of water from the New York border to the Maryland border. An average of a foot over the middle part of the state. 3.3 billion large swimming pools. A baseball diamond 34,000 miles deep. Earth is almost 8000 miles wide. So that is a little more than 4 earths wide. 1/3 our usual annual rainfall. God gives us enough.
A man comes from Ba’al Shalishah bringing a gift of grain and bread for Elisha. The people are hungry. Elisha tells the faithful man to feed the people. Not enough! Oh, yes, it is enough. Elisha lives in the abundance of his God or he would not have shared the loaves and grain.
Jesus sees the hungry crowd. Gee, Philip, “How will we feed this hungry crowd?” 6 months pay would not be enough for cheeseburgers and fries. Andrew speaks up. “Well, a boy has 5 loaves and 2 fish but that’s not enough. Surely.” The leftovers make clear the point of this sign that enough has nothing to do with how much you have, or want, or need. Abundance is a gift of God.
The disciples are rowing desperately to get to where they wish to go. They don’t have enough strength to get there. Jesus comes to them walking on the sea. “It is I, Don’t be afraid.” Suddenly, they have reached their destination.
It is clear from the Gospel writers that the gift of God’s abundance in the Old Testament pales in comparison to the gift of God’s abundance in Christ. 20 loaves feeds 100 people. 5 loaves and 2 fish feed thousands of people.
Yes, the apostles found that Jesus is enough. God with us in Christ is plenty if we find his presence in this moment.
But we worry. What if we run out of good health, money, God’s grace, wisdom, friends, time, employment, hope? We are sorely tempted in our thoughts. . .and express it in our choices, “What if. . .there is not enough!” You know what we are doing? We are stockpiling “enough” for when God’s abundance runs low. We put up walls to protect what we didn’t produce and what we cannot keep.
The Psalmist sees a pattern. God is faithfully kind to those who seek help.
Upholds those who fall and lifts up those who are bowed down / Those who look to God expectantly, receive.
The open hand of God satisfies the desire of the living. / Those who call upon the Lord find God near.
The pattern is—those who are receptive, open, seeking. . .receive abundance from the hand of God.
Grateful humility is at work here. Anytime we realize we need help, our energy shifts from demanding something of ourselves or others, to being willing to receive it freely. Isn’t that what happens when we ask for help? Isn’t that why it is so important to confess our sin, to turn from our arrogance or our self-loathing back to God?
When we realize we cannot help ourselves, that we need to be saved, we turn to God or even to someone who is willing to step into the gap--as Christ, the very presence of God, did on the cross.
We turn to the Spirit of God for help. . .and at the root its all about love. God’s loving abundant provision.
The writer of Ephesians speaks of being strengthened in our inner being, the Spirit of Christ within us. This Spirit roots and grounds us in love—that we may know the love of Christ—and be filled with the abundance of God.
So in what ways are you tempted to think “not enough?” My invitation today is to pray. To be open. To seek whatever the Spirit is calling to you. God’s offer is love. Not a skimpy, demanding, harshness, but a welcoming abundance which always calls forth from us the same. Love. Not control, or some kind of perfection, but the embrace of lovingkindness.
Free food for the weary. Shelter from the storm. Salvation for those who are ready to give up trying to save themselves.
There is enough for God to accomplish far more than we can ask or imagine. Personally for you. Together for this congregation. We naturally think in terms of limits and not enough. Life and love are about abundance, without limit. Let us share in this abundance of God together. There are wonderful possibilities for those who are open to them. Let us be filled with hope. The Spirit of God is calling to us. Will we humbly follow? Amen.