Good morning! Please join me in prayer. Poppy, you don’t mind me saying that? May the words that I share with my church family be acceptable to you and your Son, Jesus Christ. That maybe one minutiae of my words will be part of each person’s life experience during the next week.
Ok! I am not a fan of the lectionary order of service. I am a topical speaker of the word. But, the lectionary for July has a developed the readings that spoke to me as an everyday Christian living each day.
The United Methodist Church has taken the 6th thru 10th Sundays of Pentecost with associated readings created a theme called Healing Hands. I had the privilege in participating in the first Sunday with Fred in Bring Back Life.
The subsequent Sundays we heard from Pastor Jeff.
2nd Sunday was Send Forth – as disciples we are to share the good news verbally and by actions.
3rd Sunday was Be Known – like Jesus, be known by example. Jesus and John the Baptist became known by who they were and what they believed. Their action caused a reaction and became known all around the Sea of Galilee. It cost John the Baptist’s life and eventually Jesus’s, too. We don’t have to lose our heads to be known because we have the Holy Spirit. I will speak to that later.
4th Sunday was Draw Crowds – Jesus was not looking for this but it happened. He talking about loving each other and healing. Yes, his healing started small but word spread…with that the crowds grew. Everyone wanted to be on this healing bandwagon. He was like a rock star or a star of his time. Maybe a Superstar? Justin Bieber, Rinaldo the soccer fan, Joel Osteen, Warren Buffet, Queen Elizabeth, Taylor Swift, and even others, some which may not be favorites. But all have star qualities.
We don’t have to have to be stars but comfortable as you as a person, a Christian – just like Jesus was comfortable with himself.
So, Mark Skipped over the whole feeding of the crowd. Why? The crowds did not come to see Jesus? The crowds were not hungry but Starving! Spiritually starving ….looking for healing. Looking for HOPE!
THIS WAS MORE IMPORTANT THAN HUNGER.
These were Jews. The whole Old Testament is based on the second coming This prophet showed up and played a different tune and melody. Not just paying umbrage to God. But to them he said Love yourselves, love others, God works through you. This was not the normal words from a prophet. A rock star INDEED!
So, this brings us to the last Sunday- FEED THE WORLD – signs of healing in terms of test, proof, and miracle.
The feeding is the miracle that proves there is healing and hope.
The feeding of 5,000 is the only miracle in all 4 books of the apostle except for the resurrection of Christ. These were Jesus’s fellow Jews. Think about the components:
The first five books of the bible…Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. The Torah
12 Baskets of leftover collected – 12 -mmmm!! – how about the 12 tribes of Israel.
The crowd had been there for 3 days. Jesus was concern and said they were hungry. The disciples worried about the food and water. Jesus calls the 5,000, his own disciples and calls on ourselves to be believers, to trust that our own physical and spiritual needs will be fulfilled by faith and acting out our faith. One can not just be passive and say I am a Christian, a Methodist. But one has to BELIEVE, love pray, and share. Then, only can the grace of God be felt in you and others.
Now let us look at the walk on water miracle.
The disciples and Jesus had a long day. They rowed from Capernaum across Galilee, climbed a mountain, fed 5,000, watch Jesus healing and being a rock star. Everyone was tired. Jesus was tired and wanted to be by himself. So, he sent them back to Capernaum, rowing in this little boat, in the dark. They were bush tired. Then a storm came up with winds and waves. Interesting how bad weather, many times show up at night. I am sure you have been somewhere at night when a thunderstorm or snow storm shows up. Disciples were making no progress. They were tired and scared. They were caught off guard and feeling helpless. Know the feel. I have had it.
Then, they see a figure, it is Jesus, no it is an apparition walking on the water. The Jesus spoke “It is I, do not be afraid”.
Jesus walked over the boat, they took him. They were no longer afraid and they made it to shore.
Matthew talks about Peter walking out to meet him, sinking, then walking with Jesus. Mark wanted to focus on Jesus coming into the boat of the disciples. This is very important. Do you always have to come to Jesus for help? Or, can he show up on your shoulder or doorstep in your situation without asking. Maybe you prayed or maybe you did not. But you believed he is there.
Oh, by the way, do you think Jesus had a sense of humor. Jesus fed 5000 on a mountain with 5 loaves and two fish. The crowd saw the disciples leave in the dark without him. They continued to look for him and never found him. I am sure they heard about him in Capernaum a few days later. They did not know about Jesus’s Divine way of Transportation.
Ok. We have these two miracles. The disciples followed Jesus because they physically saw him. When they did not see Jesus, they were LOST. This is the scenario when in the boat or the 5,000 with 2 fish and 5 loaves. They believed because they physically saw him. Never had him in them. It was only when Jesus died on the cross and the second and greatest miracle, the Resurrection, occurred. He gave us and his disciples the Holy Spirit. The spirit is what is in us when we do an act of kindness, respecting and treating others as you want – as what God would expect. You, we are now God’s disciples.
This week our healing hands will encounter a challenge that is like feeding and healing. Or, get in someone’s “boat” to help someone or somebody. Whether we know it or not, God is working through you and with you. And trust me you will know he is there.
Another way of expressing is in a sister reading of a letter to the Ephesian church by Paul. A church that may have been like ours in similar times. He says:
HE (I guess he means god, the holy spirit of Jesus) is able to do far more beyond all that we ask or think (feed 5,000; walk on water) according to the Power (the spirit of Jesus & god’s grace) that work within us.
Does not this Can do attitude of the holy spirit give us hope! Through Healing Hands of our own and us a church.
Pray with me
God, you give us miracles including your son. Some are small and others are big. The biggest was your son who died on the cross, was resurrected and his spirit in each of us. Please give us the hope and strength to feed our own masses, big or small with spiritual and real food to everyone we see, meet, hug, and spend time with this week and in the future. We are Jesus’s disciples and only ones that can provide another with HOPE and with healing hands. AMEN.