10th Sunday After Pentecost, July 29, 2018
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
In this country of ours today, our society suffers from â€œgreed of the eyes.â€ We think that bigger is better. Bigger houses (bigger taxes, too), bigger vehicles (more gas and more pollution), bigger meals (more fat, cholesterol, and sugar).
We think that when it comes to growing fruit and vegetables that the bigger the better. Trust me, a bigger zucchini is not the answer, smaller is better and more zucchini certainly is not the answer either. Someone, in hybridizing some varieties of strawberries though, â€œOoh, bigger is better!â€ What did they get? Huge, hollow, tasteless berries.
Blueberries now grow on smaller bushes, with bigger fruit. But they have bred most of the flavor out of them. The old-fashioned high bush blueberries may have been smaller in size, but they were huge in flavor. This happens quite often in the hybridization process.
In todayâ€™s Gospel, we have Johnâ€™s version of the Feeding of the 5,000. The only real miracle that appears in all four of the gospels. The people are physically hungry.
And Jesus doesnâ€™t make it easy on the disciples. He is trying to get them to think outside of the box.
He says to Philip, â€œWhere are we to buy bread for all of these people to eat? â€œ
They just sit there. â€œCome on disciples! Push the boat out! Think!â€
Philip responds, â€œsix months wages wouldnâ€™t feed them all.â€
They find a boy with 5 loaves of barley bread and two fish and they bring it to Jesus, who offers thanks to God for even this little bit that they are about to share and eat.
They begin to distribute the bits and low and behold, itâ€™s enough to feed everybody and then some.
Afterward, they gather up the leftovers and it fills twelve baskets full.
Folks, we do not understand hunger. When was the last time that you went hungry other than in preparation for a colonoscopy or some other test? Yeah. Me neither.
Yet there are folks in this country, many of whom are children, who go hungry daily. They are food insecure. For some, it may be their own fault, but for many, it is due to a series of unfortunate circumstances.
While we are eating big meals, or pigging out on some type of food, some folks donâ€™t have enough for even a small meal.
The meal that Jesus provided that day was not some huge banquet or big meal. No four courses, no meat, no veg, and certainly no dessert. Just bread and fish. The meal that Jesus provides is basic and it is simple, and it is necessary. And all, everyone, was satisfied.
I am reminded of the 1970 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, which came out when I was about 13 years old. Jesus is on trial and has to go to see Herod. Herod sings to him.
â€œSo, you are the Christ, yes, the great Jesus Christ. Prove to me that youâ€™re no fool; walk across my swimming pool. If you do that for me, then Iâ€™ll let you go free. Come on King of the Jews.â€
Thatâ€™s what we are all about. We want the big, impressive, flashy miracle. But what does Jesus give us? The simple, the basic, the necessary.
Sometimes I hear people say, â€œWhy doesnâ€™t God just feed everybody?â€ He is! Through all of you and through me, he is feeding the hungry. In your donations to World Hunger, or to the Power Pack Meals, or to Brown Bag, the hungry are being fed.
The miracle in this story isnâ€™t just what Jesus did, but the fact that they worked together to provide a miracle, to those who were hungry.
â€œJust show us a sign,â€ people say. Iâ€™ll show you one, right here. Look at this box for Power Pack meals. People, the people of God, feeding people. Sometimes all that is needed are the simple basics. The simple basics that God provides us with to be able to feed the hungry here and throughout the world.
Bigger isnâ€™t always better. Sometimes smaller is better because smaller is more personal, smaller is easier to work with, and smaller is simply the right people working together to do the right thing. The history of this congregation is littered with instances of a small group of people doing big things to help out those in this congregation and out in the community and in the world.
In a couple of weeks, we will be joining together to do the Food Stand and the French Fry booth at Twin Bridges. Yes, it is a lot for a small group to do, but I know that together we can do it. Please remember to sign up and help us in this endeavor. Even small groups can make big miracles happen. Feed others, as you have been fed by God.