Pentecost 10 A 2023 Feed Us Sermon Matthew 14:13-21
Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Mommy… Daddy… There’s nothing to eat. How many times have you heard this from your children while they were standing in the kitchen with the refrigerator door open? And how many times did we ourselves say this to our parents while we were growing up?
I don’t know about you, but my parents always shouted back: “There is plenty of food in this house for you to eat. And close the refrigerator door. What are you trying to do, cool down the whole house?”nn
Does this sound familiar? Well guess what. More often than not, there was plenty of food in the refrigerator, but it was probably not what we were looking for. Instead of left-over fried chicken, or pizza, there were apples, and carrots, and left-over quiche from last Sunday’s brunch. Yes, there was food in the refrigerator. But the food in the refrigerator was not what we had in mind.
Now, I told you this because this helps set the stage for today’s Gospel text. As you may well know, our text today immediately follows the account of the beheading of John the Baptist. (Matthew 14:1-12)
And Jesus, having been informed of this tragic event, wanted to get away and spend some time alone. But it was not meant to be. The crowds figured out where Jesus was headed and got there ahead of Him.
But instead of being angry with them and telling them to go away and leave him alone, Jesus welcomed them. In fact, we are told “Jesus had compassion on them and healed their sick.” Matthew 14:14
And this continued throughout the day. The folks kept bringing their problems to Jesus and Jesus attended to their needs. And as the afternoon turned to evening, the folks in the crowd became tired and hungry, and cried out “We’re hungry. What’s for dinner?” And you know what happens when people get hungry? They get hangry.
Now, hangry is a word that is a combination of “hungry” and “angry.” And the word perfectly describes how we feel when we get hungry. We get irritable, and grouchy. And we are not at our best.
When we are hangry our brain activity decreases, and our concentration and patience decline, and the brain sends signals to release hormones, including adrenaline, which triggers our “fight or flight” response. And this makes us grumpy and aggressive.
The disciples were hangry too. Looking at the huge mass of people before them the disciples went to Jesus and said to Him “Send the crowd away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”
In their eyes the fact that the folks in the crowd were hungry was not their problem. Their solution was “Send the crowd away so they can look after themselves.”
But Jesus had other ideas. And His response must have floored His disciples. Jesus looked at His disciples and said to them “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”
Stunned, the disciples respond, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” In their mind they could not possibly feed this many people. Beyond the five loaves of bread and two fish, the disciples saw only what they did not have.
That is how it is when we are “hangry.” We only see what we do not have and worry how we will get by. We fret over our limited resources, and we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Just when the disciples thought that they did not have the resources to feed the crowd, Jesus further stunned His disciples.
He told His disciples to bring the five loaves of bread and two fish to Him. Then He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
“And all ate, and all were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, and they had twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.”
Wow. The disciples did have the resources to feed that many people when they brought what they did have to Jesus.
And the same is true for us today. We too have the resources to fulfill the ministry we have been given. We too have the means to be Christ’s presence in the world today.
One of the projects that the congregation council has chosen this year as we journey towards “God Works. Our Hands” Sunday on September 10, 2023 is to bring canned goods to the church each Sunday during the month of August so we can restock the shelves at Project Dignidad.
The congregation council has discerned that during the month of August, Jesus has invited us to bring what we have to Him, and then trust that the little we do have is much in God’s hands, so that the shelves at Project Dignadad will be full as we head into the Fall Season.
Jesus said: “You give them something to eat.” Jesus has invited us to be a part of His ministry. He has invited us to use what we have been given so we can be a blessing to others.
He has invited us to come and receive His body, and His blood, given and shed for us, so the symptoms of “hangry” will not dominate our lives so we can share the blessings we have received with those around us.
Let us pray: Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ fed the hungry with the bread of His life and the Word of His kingdom. Renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our weakness sustain us by your true and living bread, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.