The Tenth Sunday of Pentecost – Sunday, July 29, 2018

July 29, 2018  

2 Kings 4:42-44
John 6:1-21

It’s a miracle!

Those are the words we use when something happens we can’t explain. It’s a miracle!

Today’s readings bring a series of miracles to our attention.
Elisha fed 100 people with several small loaves of bread and a few fish.
Jesus fed 5,000 people with even less: 5 loaves of bread and two fish.
Then Jesus walked on water.

Elisha was known for performing miracles: he cleaned poisoned water (2 Kings 2:22); he provided an endless stream of oil to a widowed woman who needed money to pay her creditors (she was able to sell the oil) (2 Kings 4:1-7); he raised a woman’s son from the dead (2 Kings 4:32-37); he purified a pot of poisonous stew (2 Kings 4:38-41).

All four gospels tell story after story of miracles Jesus performed. Healings. Exorcisms. Resurrection. Turning water into wine. Feeding crowds of people. Walking on water.

One might wonder, what’s the point of these miracle stories? What are the storytellers trying to tell us? What are the storytellers trying to give us?

Although miracle stories are dramatic in their own way, as one scholar wrote, they are also “mundane” (The New Interpreter’s Bible vol. 3, p. 191). What he was trying to say was that many of the miracles stories in the bible address every-day common needs.  For example, our need for food.

I am fortunate, just as some of you are. When we get hungry we go open the refrigerator and look at what there is to eat. Or we open a cupboard. Or we look in a pantry. Or we run to the nearest gas station or grocery store and buy what we need.

Not everyone in the world is so fortunate. Not everyone in this sanctuary is so fortunate.  When a person is hungry and has nothing to eat, what might seem mundane to one person becomes horribly real to the person who hungers. We know this even if we don’t KNOW this.

Miracles aren’t just miracles… they become stories of necessity.

When folks are hungry, really hungry they need to eat.
When folks are sick they need healing.
When someone owes money to someone else the debt needs to be paid.
Dirty water needs to be cleaned.

What I like most about the story of Elisha feeding 100 people and about the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 is a simple point that is often overlooked.

Both miracles occurred because, in each instance, one person had food that one person was willing to share.  In Elisha’s story, there wouldn’t have been bread there to share if one man hadn’t brought bread to Elisha as an offering. That one man’s bread fed 100 people. In the story of Jesus feeding 5,000, Jesus wouldn’t have been able to feed them if there hadn’t been one little boy who brought bread and fish and was willing to give it to the disciples to share with others.

It takes one person’s kindness for miracles to happen. One person!

Imagine what we all have the power to do, together!

God can and God does work miracles in and through us. God calls us to care. God calls us to share, and miracles happen.

It is a miracle every week that we have food to share, people to prepare, and people to assist us as we serve supper on Tuesday nights. More and more people are coming. This past week the line didn’t end for over 30 minutes. People just kept coming. We served 275 meals!

God provides. God works in and through us and God provides. There is hope. There are miracles. May our generosity continue to bring miracles to this community and to the world.

Amen.