Sunday, July 26, 2015
Christ Lutheran Church – Manchester, PA
John 6:1-21; 2 Kings 4:42-44
God’s Abundant Grace
For the next five weeks our Gospel readings will come from the book of John instead of the book of Mark and they will focus on Jesus as the Bread of Life, the Living Word. By focusing deeply on this we can learn to stay in the Word who is Jesus, to abide in the Word, and to live in the Word.
In our readings today we hear a central theme, how God provides for our needs with abundance. In our first reading from 2 Kings Elisha’s servant can’t imagine how there can be enough to feed all who need to be fed. He can only see what is lacking. Yet the Lord promises that they “shall eat and have some left.” How can this be? is the question we still ask today, especially when it seems at times that we don’t even have enough for ourselves. But God sees things differently than we do. Where we see scarcity, God sees abundance.
Psalm 145 reiterates this and says of the Lord, “You open wide your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” It’s a promise that God continues to remind us of over and over again. The crowds of over 5000 were hungry and like in the days of the prophet Elisha the disciples worried “How can this be? How can we feed all these people with this little offering. We like Phillip look at the cost and believe we don’t have enough to do what God is calling us to do. The temptation is to continue to focus on scarcity just the disciples in John’s gospel. The tendency is to see the glass as half empty rather than half full.
And the temptation is to save it for ourselves out of fear and lack of trust that God will provide. Yet the truth is that we do not have to wait for God to provide. God is already providing for our needs right now. Sometimes we just can’t see it. We don’t see what God sees. God sees things differently than we do. When we see scarcity God sees abundance. Humans see five loaves and two fish and God sees so much abundance that there is more than enough – twelve baskets of leftovers. We see a major problem with obstacles in the way, and no way out, but God sees an abundance of opportunities and new beginnings. Jesus continues to make new roads when the way seems impassible. Jesus continues to be the source of our nourishment. Jesus continues to satisfy our needs with an overflowing grace
That is why hearing Fred’s mission trip to Liberia is so important. In the midst of sickness, and disease, poverty, and death, Fred carried the Gospel of grace and love to a people who are used to at times living on leftovers. Perhaps some even felt like leftovers, like no one cares. Perhaps we at times feel the same? But Jesus said to “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” Through the work of the Holy Spirit Jesus calls us to gather all people into God’s love so that no one will be lost. Fred and the people of Christ Lutheran Church answered that call when Fred went to Liberia and showed the people there that God hears their cries for help, that God still answers prayers, and that God provides for their needs through our mission outreach. And God speaks to us through the people of Liberia.
It’s a blessing this morning as Fred shares with us his mission trip experience to Liberia from last year. Listen to the stories. See the faces of God’s people in Liberia. Embrace the beauty of the diversity of God’s church, the one Body of Christ. See God’s abundant grace in action…..