Monday, August 28, 2017

Who Is Jesus?

Matthew 16:13-20
August, 27, 2017

Peter finally got something right!
Jesus asks the disciples who do others say that he is.
They give him the scoop on the street: John the Baptist, Elijah, a prophet.
But then - and I think this is what he really wants to know -
Jesus asks them who do they think he is.

And Peter comes up with the right answer!
Not something that happens all the time in the gospels.
Peter and the rest of them are kind of goofy when it comes down to it.
But Peter got it right this time!

He says “You are the Messiah, the son of the living God.”
And oh, Jesus is happy about it!
Confession of St. Peter - James Tissot
 
He blesses Peter and tells him that God has given him the information
and he tells him that he’s going to build his church on this confession,
and he gives him the keys to the Kingdom.

Of course this party doesn’t last too long and
within one verse, Peter gets it all wrong again.
But for right now, Jesus is pleased – Because Peter got something right!

Well, I don’t think it’s just that Peter got something right.
It’s that Peter got this specific thing right.
Identifying Jesus as the Messiah, the one sent by God.
That seems to be very important.

But why is that important?
Why is it important that we understand that Jesus is the Messiah
and not just another prophet or a just a good teacher or a good example?

I mean, Jesus doesn’t seem like the
kind of guy who needs be recognized as great.
Actually, right here after Peter’s confession,
he warns his disciples not to tell anyone about
the fact that he’s the Messiah and keep it a secret.
So why is it important for his disciples
to know that he is the Messiah the son of God?

First off, just a little bit on the Messiah.
In the Jewish faith, the Messiah was and is a person
that scriptures promise would come and would be sent by God
The one that would rule the people and deliver them
from the injustice of the world.

So the Messiah is the one that God sends to save the world.
But how that would happen, and what that would look like
is still a question in the disciples minds.
Would it come as a military coup, or a violent uprising,
would Jesus become the emperor or the Jewish King like Herod?

It is important that Peter and the others see that Jesus
is the one that was sent by God
and that the way that Jesus brings that salvation,
is the way that God wants it brought to us.
Not through the typical political means of the day,
but through service and self-sacrifice.

Basically, it is important that we understand that Jesus is sent by God,
and is God, because Jesus gives us a clear picture of who God is.

Throughout time, God has been kind of a fuzzy character
to the human race.
God has been labeled with a lot of different characteristics over time.
God is been seen as a wonderful creator but more often
as a destroyer –  angry and vengeful, a God of war.
God has been seen as demanding human sacrifice and animal sacrifice.
God has been used to defend slavery and hate.
God is credited with wanting the gratification of religious leaders.
giving wealth, taking away wealth, taking away pain and also often giving it.
God has been said to look down on women as second class citizens
condemning people, scaring, and threatening people.
All of these aspects of God might make an appearance in scripture,
but people have stressed them and over-used them
as a threat to manipulate people and get their own way.

There is a book we all had to read in Seminary,
It was the journal of a woman who came with her husband
to America and was a pioneer of the West.
She and her family were very devout Christians, but
her husband was a very angry and abusive man.
He told her every time that he beat her,
 to remember that it was actually God
forming her and shaping her through it. 

She began to believe that God shared exactly her
husband’s thoughts and values and actions.
You can see through the journal how her
relationship with God changed because of her
husband’s abuse and his claims to God’s authority.

It was a disturbing book to read,
but we read it because it showed us future pastors
how the identity and authority of God can be
abused by people in power.
To remind us that humans often take their own
thoughts, desires, prejudices, fears, and issues and make them God’s.
It’s happened throughout history and it still happens today.

We just had a Christian Pastor and one of the president’s advisors
say that The president has God’s blessing
to use any kind of force to take Kim Jong Un out.
Even if that means  engaging in a nuclear war with North Korea
in order to protect our country.
A blessing by God to kill millions.
That’s just wrong. Period.

These statements by Christian leaders should be condemned
by other Christians, not just because of the
frightening prospects of the violence it could mean for our world,
but because of the violence they do to our image of God.

Many religious leaders claim Christ’s authority,
but they forget Christ’s life and teachings and example.

To claim Christ’s authority –
To have the responsibility of the keys that Jesus promised,
and to use them with integrity –
 we always have to return to Jesus
not just who he is, but how he was.

We have to not just remember that God sent a Messiah
but that Jesus was that Messiah: we have to remember
what Jesus was like, who Jesus was, what Jesus did.
Jesus brings that fuzzy picture of God back into focus.
It changes the God who could be anything we want
into a solid, living, breathing, human life.

And when we see others in the world doing the things
Jesus did, we know that is sent from God too.

Eating with outcasts, sharing, welcoming children, healing,
caring for others, crying for friends, keeping company with shepherds and
prostitutes and sinners, feeding the hungry, giving good news to the poor,
demanding justice for others, caring,  and freeing.
Restoring humanity and bringing new life.
Not dropping bombs or making threats,
But speaking the truth.
Not coercing and intimidating,
but serving and empowering.

Jesus life is how God wants to be seen and understood.
Right on through his rejection by the religious and political leaders.
Right through his arrest.
Right through his trial and crucifixion.
Right through his suffering and death for the sake of others.
That is why it is important that Jesus is understood
as the Messiah, the son of the living God
because Jesus is how God wants to be seen.

Of course,  Jesus tells the disciples that suffering at the hands
of the corrupt religious leaders will be his fate.
And Peter tells him how much he
hates that idea and immediately gets it wrong again.
But that is a story we’ll hear next week.

Right now we can remember, Peter’s accurate confession:
Jesus is the Messiah, the living God.
God loves the world so much,
that God sent us Jesus.
To show us what God is really like.

God came into the world to be a part of the world.
To live like we live, to share the same challenges, joys, fears and pain.
And to save us, and to show us the way.
Death and resurrection, dying, and rising again.
Jesus came into the world to show us how God loves.

So who do we say that Jesus is?
Jesus is the Messiah, the son of the living God.
Jesus is God’s love and kingdom in our presence.


Monday, August 21, 2017

Jesus and the Canaanite Woman

Matthew 15:21-28
August 20, 2017

So Jesus is in the Gentile area of the country, Tyre and Sidon,
the non-Jewish area. The woman is referred to as Canaanite.
The gospel of Mark refers to this woman as Syrophonician,
which would be gentile as well,
but Matthew goes one step further,
Canaan was on the land that was promised to Abraham.
Jesus Heals a Woman
Ed DeGuzman
Canaan was one of the 
places slated for destruction
in the book of Joshua, after the
Israelites returned from the wilderness.
By Jesus time, “Canaanites” was
basically a catch-all term for ethnic enemy.
The author of this story wants us to know that this woman
is as far outside of the clan 
of Judaism as one can get.
Not just a gentile, but a hated gentile.

So even if we didn’t want to
talk about race and prejudice
this morning, even if we wanted 
to give it a break after
all that’s been in the news 
this week about it,
Jesus still wants us to talk about it today.

A Canaanite woman comes up to Jesus because her daughter
is in trouble and she begs Jesus to help her.
But Jesus ignores her at first, and the disciples
try to get him to send her away. “She keeps yelling at us”, they say.
And then Jesus tells the woman what
 all the disciples were all thinking:
“I was only sent to the lost of the house of Israel.”
Basically, Jesus told her that he wouldn’t help her
because she wasn’t an Israelite,
She was not the right race.

Some people want to save Jesus here
and say that he was testing this desperate woman
so her faith would be exposed to them.
Or that he was using her to teach his disciples a lesson.
I think that’s reading into the text something that isn’t there.
And I don’t know that any of those interpretations put Jesus
in a much better light actually.

I mean we know that Jesus is fully human,
but we don’t want him to be too human.
We don’t want him to be wrong, even if it’s for a while.
We want him to have all the answers up front.
We certainly don’t want him to see people for their race.
But he, like all of us was brought up in a world
where people were separated by heritage.

Israelites often hated by other groups for
the different way they lived their lives, consequently,
they mostly insulated themselves for thousands of years,
so the promises of Yahweh they understood
to be for them alone.
The rest of the world would be blessed through
their blessing, but the blessing was theirs, it was often all they had.

And the Israelites weren’t the first to segregate themselves
prejudice and separation and division of heritage
 is as old as humanity.
Segregation naturally leads to suspicion, hatred,
dehumanization, and a feeling of superiority.
And it has been the way of the world almost forever.
Some might say it’s humanity’s original sin.

So we, in the US are not dealing with anything new or unique
but ironically, this country which has been made
up of immigrants from all other countries,
has made a 200 year hobby out of
legitimizing and legislating segregation
and has made it clear that one race is favored over all others.

Maybe it is specifically because
we are a melting pot, or a salad bowl or whatever
food analogy you want to use for this country,
that race has been more of an issue here.
Maybe we have been chosen to work on this and sort this all out.

But the inclination for groups to separate themselves
from each other is not new at all. 

Jesus initial refusal to help this Canaanite woman
at the beginning of the story, would have reflected the thoughts of
most of the people who would
have been following Jesus at that time.
Especially the people who would have heard Matthew’s gospel.

Scholars always remind us that the Christian church
started as a movement of Jewish people.
And whether gentiles should be included in Christianity
or not, was certainly a big topic of discussion at first.

So when the early church heard Jesus say to the woman,
“It isn’t fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs”
Most of them probably weren’t offended by it,
They actually would have agreed with it.
Jesus would have been confirming their belief.

And the woman in the story understands the tradition too.
She doesn’t argue with its fairness or justice
but she appeals to Jesus compassion.
“Jesus, wasn’t it you who fed 5000 people
with five loaves and two fish?”
Jesus, didn’t you teach your disciples that God was abundant
Didn’t you tell them that there was enough for everyone?
Don’t the dogs under the table at least get the crumbs?”

And then, moved by his compassion and this Canaanite woman’s faith, 
Jesus does something wonderful.
Something that probably shocked the disciples
and other early followers of Jesus.
He changes his mind. 
He healed the woman’s daughter.
The God’s food was not just for one group of people,
it was for everyone.

In one act of openness and welcome and love
- Jesus heals this woman’s daughter of the demons,
- Jesus  opens the promises and covenants of Yahweh to the Gentiles
- And in the process, he changes thousands of years of tradition.
Just because it’s always been done this way,
 doesn’t mean that it has to always be like this.

White supremacy and this country and Christianity
Have been  intertwined in this country since the beginning.
The Doctrine of Discovery, was issued by  pope Alexander in 1493,
and then it was recertified by the Supreme Court in 1823,
This papal bull justified European Christians to legally take land
in the new world from anyone who was
non-Christian which meant not white and European.
It set the course and tone and understanding that we are still on
in many ways today.


But even though it’s been around since the beginning,
it is still obviously against the ideals of this country.

Somehow through their own prejudices
and contrary to the environment they were born and raised into,
the founding fathers had the wisdom to say that
 “All people are created equal and are endowed
by their creator with certain inalienable rights.”

We know now, that the ideals of this country not be realized easily.
Every time it seems like we’re closer to it, we get pulled back.
Even after 200 years this will obviously
take a lot of hard work and changed hearts to make it a reality.
But like I said, maybe that is our job in this country.

And white supremacy is not only against the ideals of this country.
White supremacy is obviously against the ideals
of Christianity as well.
Jesus has set us on a trajectory with his ministry,

He healed the Canaanite woman’s daughter,
He opened his arms to all people on that cross, because
God so loved the whole world.
In Christ there is no Jew or Greek,
no slave or free, no male or female.

But we have always known that the ideals of Christianity
will take time. Even after 2000 years, it will take more time
and more effort and more changed hearts for God
to work this out in us.
But maybe this is our job as Christians.

But if Jesus can change his mind and ways, we can too.
And I think we can do this in real ways right now
and you can do it without leaving your home.
I would like everyone to work on this with me this week.

In an effort to make the ideals of this country
and Christianity a reality, I ask everyone here to confront
your own racism in your heart.

Every day, notice one thing one notion, one prejudice, one idea
that the white, Christian, European way is better or preferable,
or more reliable. Catch one discouraging impulse that
you have against someone of another race or religion
 and confront it.  And ask God to change it in you.
Make it a personal devotion in your life.

And if you think you have none, look harder.
We all have those thoughts, we are products of our
society and our society has been teaching us this for centuries.
Jesus was shaped by his upbringing and environment,
 we aren’t better or more immune to it than Jesus.

Jesus wants us to think and talk about racism today.
It is our job as Americans and as Christians.
Take your preconceived notion, recognize it,
let yourself be changed. Be like Jesus.

With the Canaanite woman, Jesus was vulnerable.
Jesus was open to God’s call and the movement of the Spirit,
and that is a greater Christ-like example to us
than having the right answer from the beginning.
  
The greatest testament of this story is that
one woman’s cries of protest,
when met by Christ’s compassion and vulnerability
can change the whole history of the world.




Monday, August 14, 2017

Walking on Water

Matthew 14:22-33
August 10, 2014

Jesus has just fed more than 5000
people with five loaves and two fish.
And he stays behind to close things out with that crowd.
And while he’s doing that,
he sends the disciples off in a boat.
And the wind takes them out into
the deep part of the water.
And while they’re there,
they see a figure walking on the water.

At first the disciples are scared,
not because of the storm, but because they think it’s a ghost,
because who else could be walking on the water.
But they realize it’s Jesus. Jesus is walking on water.
Jesus calls out to them.
“It’s just me walking on water, don’t be afraid.”

And Peter is maybe emboldened by Jesus’s presence,
or moved by the Spirit, or just trying again
to impress everyone, he tries it himself.
He tells Jesus to command him to come out into the water.
And Jesus does. “Okay, Peter, come on”
But the wind is high and Peter freaks out and he starts to sink.
He calls out to Jesus, “Please save me”
And he does and then Jesus tells him:
“You of little faith, why did you doubt”

Now the interpretation of this story I’ve
heard most often is that Jesus was disappointed
in Peter because Peter doubted himself.
Peter doubted that he could walk on water.
And his doubt caused him to faltered and become afraid
and he couldn’t do it.

 So then the moral of the story is:
Don’t take your eyes off of Jesus. Don’t doubt for a second.
If you don’t let your faith falter, then you won’t fail.
You’ve got to step out of the boat, take the risk.
I don’t know, maybe I’ll preach on this story
that way the next time it comes around.

But today, I struggle with that interpretation on a practical level:
So if I believe hard enough I can do it?
I can walk on water? Can anyone walk on water?
If this were true, you would think there would be
some Christians who could – walk on water.
I’ve known many with a faith that couldn’t be shaken for anything.
But they’re not walking on water.

So maybe I’m just a cynical person,
but my main trouble with seeing this story that way is that
Peter can’t walk on water. He never walks on water.
Even in Acts, he’s filled with the Holy Spirit, he is courageous,
he sees the power of God working all around him.
Wonderful things happen, things you can call miracles even.
But we never see him walking on that water.

And I think that is an important thing to remember
as disciples and followers of Jesus:
We can’t walk on water.
We will never walk on water.
Only Jesus walks on water.

Remembering that we’re not Jesus or God,
is a really an important part of our theology as Lutherans.
We are not saved by our own works, but by the grace of God,
It’s the main tenant of our understanding,

I learned pretty quickly in my Lutheran Theology class in seminary:
God is the actor, the Spirit does the work,
Christ walks on water, and saves the world, not us.

But that doesn’t stop people of faith from trying,
Out of hubris, egoism, or some self-imposed martyrdom,
from thinking we can and need to do it all ourselves.

Whenever we look at those steep mountains of
ministry, it seems too high to climb:
Spread God’s love, feed the hungry, heal the sick,
bring good news to the poor, I mean
at times even just keeping our churches open,
alive, and preaching the gospel seems like an impossible task.

And then when we look 
at the state of the world today
and there are more impossibilities. 
Just this weekend we’ve all been 
watching in Charlottesville, VA
hundreds of white supremacy, 
KKK, and neo-Nazis
were walking through town with torches,
and shields, and Nazi flags,
with their faces exposed, 
proudly waving swastikas
no longer feeling the need to hide under white hoods,
because now hate is basically acceptable in our country.

Friday night, they surrounded an Episcopal church having a prayer 
vigil against hate and trapped and intimidated the people inside,
then Saturday they had armed militia out
and then someone drove a car into a group of counter protesters
and lots of people were hurt and someone died.
Blatant and bold and proud racism and violence.

We know this is wrong. So many people know this is wrong.
And as people of faith and followers of Jesus we know that
we should do something, but I’m not sure what.

I look at this situation that we’re in in this country and
say “this is impossible.”
How are we ever going to climb out of this hole of hate we are in.
how can we ever reach across these barriers
and talk with people long enough for any
change or understanding to take place?
How will we solve racism and hate,
what will I do or say to make a difference?
How will I change the world?
Sometimes I can hardly keep up with life in
general how are we going to do this?
It can feel overwhelming and it can paralyze us.

And that’s why today, I think it’s important to look at this parable this way: 
We cannot walk on water.
Only Jesus can walk on water. 
Only God will save this world.

Now we are God’s hands and feet and we will do our part
and it’s not permission to just sit out and watch the world go by and do nothing, 
and say that God will take care of it.
We have to live our lives counter to this trend,
we have to take a public stand against 
the kind of things we’ve seen this weekend. 
There are things that we can do.
And people of faith have done some amazing things,

But it helps our mission to remember that it is
it’s Jesus who does the water walking thing.
The Spirit will do the heavy lifting,
It might take a while,
but God will bring all the pieces together in the end.

Again, the C.S. Lewis quote I used last week still pertains:  
“The problem is not that we expect
too much out of God, but we expect too little.”

When Jesus asks Peter, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
I don’t think that Jesus was wondering why Peter
couldn’t walk on the water, I think Jesus was wondering 
why Peter doubted that Jesus would be there to help him.

Why do we doubt? Knowing what we know, 
why do we doubt that Jesus will be there? 
That God will get things done?
Why do we think that it is all up to us,
and that we have to learn to walk on water?

We are living in the middle of the sea,
The sea has always been a dangerous place.
In mythology, it represented chaos, trials, suffering,
And it also represented times of transformation, change,

Many of us are out on the sea in our personal lives,
and all of us, I think, feel like this world is out to sea right now
Listing this way and that, battered by waves and wind,
barely able to stay afloat, at times it seems hopeless.
At times we might feel like we’re drowning.
Like Peter we might be yelling out,
“What are you waiting for, save us!”
Jesus will save us.

We of little faith, why did we ever doubt?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Enough

Matthew 14:12-21
August 6, 2017

So last week we talked about the story of Joseph in Genesis,
how Pharaoh, the richest, most powerful man in the world dreamed that there wouldn’t be enough, so he directed Joseph to take 1/5 of all the grain produced for seven years and then when the famine started, they sold the grain they collected back to the people
who produced it, basically until they were all in indentured servitude
and actually, the people were grateful to be there.

This was the closing to Genesis.
The story of the beginning of everything, outlines the beginning
of scarcity thinking for humanity and for the Israelites.
and the rest of the scriptures go on dealing with that:
slavery in Egypt, the Israelites wandering the wilderness complaining
about the food that God gave them,
their desire for a king to help them win more,
David’s conquests, Solomon’s insane wealth and accumulation,
All the prophets Amos, Jeremiah, Isaiah…
they all talk about the imbalance between the  haves 
and the have nots, and the problems with always wanting more,
and how the fear and  feeling of scarcity -- of not having enough --
pollutes the people, warps the nation, and infects the faith
of those who were brought together by
faith in a God who would provide.

Now you might rightly say that in Joseph’s story,
the famine did happen
There were seven years where the crops didn’t produce,
the people would have starved.
Joseph did a great service. This is true.

But it was afterwards when the famine was over and the
consolidation of everything the people had
in the hands of the empire had still persisted.
When having enough grain to feed everyone wasn’t enough.
The Pharaoh needed sliver, livestock, their land,  then their bodies.

The trouble with the fear of scarcity is that it never ends.
Once it starts, there is never enough to feed
that empty hole of anxiety.
This is one of the challenges of scripture:
Don’t go down that road.
The world will never provide enough.

Now, you might rightfully say that there are plenty of people
who don’t have enough. there are people who find themselves homeless, 
there are people who have nothing to eat,
who  watch their children starve to death
and can do nothing about it. It happens.
Well, the challenge of scripture is not for them.

But the hope of scripture is,
the promise of the constant presence of God,
the widow of Zarephath, the manna and barley bread.
The hope that tells them that God’s Kingdom
 is breaking into this world all the time.
The hope that tells them that God is there in hunger and thirst
and that even death is not the end of God’s love.
The hope is for them.
  
But the challenge is for us.
Those of us with retirement accounts and
more than package of meat in their freezer,
For those of us who are more concerned about
tabulating what the poor have than what they don’t have.
Those who curse immigrants for taking away our jobs.
For those who put our own security first and put others second.
For those of us who would rather stockpile comfort
than jump into mission.
The challenge of scripture is for us.

And the gospel today continues in that vein:
Christ Feeding 5000Eric Feather
it is both a story of hope and a story of challenge.

By that sea shore where Jesus has gone to be alone,
The disciples have enough.
They have five loaves of bread and two fish.
They can feed their own group and be satisfied.
But there were five thousand people there,
plus women and children, of course.
There really wasn’t enough to feed all of them

But Jesus didn’t want to send them away.
And so Jesus took, blessed, broke, and gave the bread.
The four verbs of our sacrament -
And he made a Eucharist,
in other words a thanksgiving, a gratitude.

With that, Jesus showed that the world is filled with God’s blessing,
Even when it didn’t look like it on the surface,
When bread is broken and shared, there is enough for all.
With this act, Jesus is subversively reordering the world’s reality
that has been there from Genesis on.
  
The feeding of the 5000 is
hope of God for those who really have nothing
for those crowds who were following looking for a sign,
anything that would tell them that they were not abandoned.
And it is a challenge for the disciples,
those of us who have
but fear there won’t be enough.

Now It’s safe to just think that Jesus here is
talking about religious things,
that he’s just talking about bread and wine and the sacrament
and stuff that stays safely in our buildings.
It’s safe to think that Jesus just did a miracle
and because of that we should worship him. The end.

But Jesus is talking about more than that,
he’s talking about everything:
the economy, the government, foreign policy,
our lives, our habits, our refrigerators, our money
our choices and actions.

It’s a challenge: the world says there is not enough.
But when the time comes, don’t just trust the world.
Don’t go down that path because there will never ever be enough.
Trust in God.
He wants to teach us about the kingdom of God
Well the people at Agua Viva will lead it and our people will help.
And a challenge to those who have,



When faced with five loaves and two fish,
and 5000 people to feed, “We don’t have enough”
It is an absolutely reasonable thing to say.

But Jesus isn’t going for reasonable.
Jesus’ didn’t want to teach his disciples
to learn how to make logical, reasonable decisions.
He didn’t need to teach them the rules of supply and demand
or what makes the best business sense.
He doesn’t need to teach them about how if you give people
a hand out they become dependent on you.
He doesn’t need to teach us about the kingdom of the world,
we know about the kingdom of the world all too well.
and how it is breaking in to the kingdom of the world all the time.
  
When I was at my previous call in Texas,
we were partners with a Lutheran Church called Agua Viva
that was on the border of Texas and Mexico,
it was the poorest area in all of Texas, maybe the whole country.
We did a lot with them, bring Christmas gifts,
we did some playground construction,
we got them a van to deliver food.
We raised money to fix their air conditioner several times,
the pastors became friends of mine.
They had a great ministry there.

But they were meeting in two old mobile home trailers.
It worked, but there were lots of problems with them,
they were old and had not been kept up.
There were holes in the floors and they looked and smelled funny.

So another partner church, some Methodists,
had this crazy idea to build them a sanctuary.
The Methodists came and talked to us,
and our construction type guys.
They were hoping to do this,
and could St. Martin’s  be part of the team?

So we asked them lots of questions, do you have plans?
Well, we figured someone would step up and do that.
Well the land isn’t level there where you want to build,
Well, they said they thought someone had access to a bull dozer,
well what about people?
We figured our people and your people
would step up and offer to pay for it if we asked.
Well, how long do you figure this would take?
Well, we  were planning on one week and two weekends.

So, me and the guys met afterwards, and we said,
we don’t know. And we came up with every reasonable excuse:
it sounds like a hair-brianed scheme,
The Methodists don’t know what they’re getting into,
you can’t build a building there, the ground is rock,
we won’t have enough money,
our people are too old, we don’t have enough time.
Yada, yada, yada. So we came back later and told them,
we didn’t think it was a prudent idea and we’re
not going to be part of it. I think our guys even 
warned them about what they were getting into.

We don’t have enough, send them away.

Well, six months later, they had a beautiful
huge sanctuary built by the Methodists
and another Lutheran church.
And we went to the dedication, 
and we still helped them, but we could have
been part of something amazing and wonderful,
but we gave into the world’s view of scarcity.

As the church, Jesus knows that we will stand in the
same place as the disciples more than once.
Facing crowds of human need, faced with pain and hunger,
With limited resources, limited wisdom and limited ideas.

Jesus knows that when faced with that,
the greatest temptation of good, reasonable people
will be to send everyone home.
We don’t have enough, it’s too much to take on.
Ignore the needs, ignore the hunger, ignore the people.
Just go home and read a book and live my own life.
We just don’t have enough. It’s a reasonable response.

C.S. Lewis wrote
“The problem is not that we expect
too much out of God, but we expect too little.”

The lesson of scripture is hope and challenge.
Hope for those who have none,
that God will find a way into our messed up world.
that the way in that God finds in is through us.
Miracles come through our hands and our willingness take the risk.

Miracles happen every day. We can be a part of them.
God’s work defies the world’s rules.
God’s work even defies our own reason and logic.
This is what the kingdom of God is like.
Even when it doesn’t look like it,

there is enough for everyone.