Saturday, August 2, 2014

8 Pentecost Yr A Proper 13 August 3 2014

Audio 8.3.14

As we begin to listen more deeply to the "Loaves and fishes" story from Matthew that we have heard many, many times, it is important to remember it's context. Marty began with "now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a lonely place apart. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the town." What is it Jesus and the people heard? They were hearing the news for the very first time of the beheading of John the Baptist, and Jesus' disciples had taken John's body and buried it. 

Jesus, in his grief over his friend John, had taken some time apart. And in their grief and fear, the people gathered near Jesus, they looked toward Jesus and one another for reassurance, for comfort and for hope. Jesus had compassion. They were all grieving, they were all afraid, and Jesus knew that he could feed them, he heals them, he fills all of their pieces of brokenness including their stomachs.

We find ourselves in a place of grief and fear. There is so much killing in the world around us. There is so much hatred and bigotry. It comes to us through our television news, and our internet news, it is there in our hands on our smartphones. There is sometimes so much I don't even know what to think. And I feel overwhelmed. I feel numb, I feel cold. I feel like I can't even respond because I just don't know how. You may feel this way as well.

But Jesus takes all the shards of brokenness, and sadness, and grief, and fear, and somehow makes it whole. Jesus, puts us back together, and Jesus feeds us.

I am reminded of the Dementors in the Harry Potter stories. A Dementor is a non-being and Dark creature, considered one of the foulest to inhabit the world. Dementors feed off human happiness, and thus cause depression and despair to anyone near them. They can also consume a person's soul, leaving their victims in a permanent vegetative state, and thus are often referred to as "soul-sucking fiends" and are known to leave a person as an 'empty-shell'. Not only does the news makes me feel this way, but each of has personal Dementors that feed off of our happiness. Dementors sense and feed on the positive emotions of human beings in order to survive, forcing their victims to relive their worst memories over and over again. The very presence of a Dementor can make the victim's surrounding atmosphere grow cold and dark, and as the number of Dementors increase, so do the effects. One of the few ways to shield oneself from Dementors is by use of the immensely difficult Patronus Charm to fend them off. The charm summons a Patronus, the manifestation of good will and happiness, so one must summon the most powerfully happy and joyful moment to summon the Patronus. And, Chocolate is an effective first-aid to mild cases of contact, given to a victim to help regain their strength after an encounter with Dementors.

The reason I use this illustration from Harry Potter, is because in the very best stories, the most meaningful and useful stories, such as Harry Potter, we experience the truth of who we are. We humans are often consumed by hate and fear. And because of hate and fear we treat ourselves and others poorly. What frees us from that is the truth. The truth that we don't walk through this life alone. The truth is that the creator of all that is, seen and unseen, has come and is coming into this world in love. In our deepest darkest most fearful times, we are not alone, we are loved absolutely and completely by the one who creates us and sustains us and heals us. We call upon the one who loves us, we gather together to strengthen our joy, and together we are made whole. Because of love we are released from all that enslaves us, because of love our dementors take flight. 

Because of love, we are fed. Whether it is chocolate, or bread and fish, we are fed. Out of what seems like nothing, and what is simple bread and fish and wine, the people eat and are satisfied, they are filled. In a world where nothing seems to satisfy, where we are always wanting more, Jesus fills us. There is enough for all who are gathered, and there is enough to feed even more. Jesus sustains and feeds all those who are present, and there are twelve baskets of leftovers. The number twelve is significant. Twelve represents the twelve tribes of Israel, and in this context that means as far as you could walk, and as far as you could walk is the entire world. Everyone is fed, the table is set, all who seek Jesus are welcome. In the bread that is broken, in the body that is Jesus, we are healed.

You are loved and healed, you are loved and the pieces of your life are put back together again. You are loved and fed, you are loved and sustained, you are loved and empowered to love others. So we come full circle. You are loved and empowered to love others. When we feel overwhelmed or numbed by life, when we feel powerless to change the events around the world, or even right here in our own community, we are loved and empowered to love others. Jesus loves us and feeds us and we are sent into the world to love and serve. Remember, love is an action. We talk a lot around here about love, and the reality is that love is about doing something. What is your love? What do you do to feed and to serve? Jesus' healing of you and us and the world happens in every act of love, mercy, compassion, justice, and feeding. And every act of love is an act of healing, every act of compassion puts the world right. Go, love, feed, and put the world right.

No comments:

Easter Vigil and Easter 2019

Audio   Easter Vigil and Easter 2019 Luke 24:1-12 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they had we...