Tuesday, August 7, 2012

John 6: 22-35

In our gospel lesson for today, we get a glimpse of the day after,

the day after Jesus feeds the 5000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.
the day after Jesus leaves the crowd because the people are so impressed with his teachings, miracles, and healing powers that they want to make Jesus king.
the day after Jesus crosses the sea without a boat, walks on water, and gets to the other side of the sea, only to, ONCE AGAIN, be followed and confronted by a crowd of people.

This time the people have lots of questions. What strikes me about these questions is that the people who are questioning Jesus are asking surface questions that are focused on Me, Me and did I mention ME.

And Jesus, well Jesus answers the questions much more deeply then imagined by these questioners, and Jesus focuses on God, God and did I mention, God!

It is as if the people asking the questions see God as a cosmic vending machine. I ask the questions, or put in the proverbial coin, and you ... vending machine called Jesus, just give me the answer I want ... the item I select and I will be happy and on my way.

How do I go about doing the works of God? ca-chunk ca-chunk ... just tell me what I should do right now, this moment, I will go do it and I will be good, my soul will be saved.

And Jesus, does not give them a list of things to do ... but instead, says this. BELIEVE IN ME. (Collective Heavy Sigh!)

OK ... I will consider believing in you, but what sign are you going to give me to prove that you are worth believing in? ca-chunk ca-chunk ... Never mind the fact that I am following you because I am amazed by your teaching and recent miracles you showed us. What sign are you going to give me now? You know, something like Moses feeding the people manna from heaven when they were hungry in the wilderness.

I can imagine Jesus shaking his head, maybe even pulling his hair out at this point and saying something like ...

• "I AM NOT your portable vending machine ...
 I am not here to give you your whim of the moment that will make you feel better about being a good disciple or follower or minister."
"Instead, I am what you need.

 I am not what you want.
 I am not your luxury item or the newest and best desire of your heart.
 I am not your mister fix it."

"I AM WHAT YOU NEED ... I am your staple. I am the bread of life. I am your sustenance. I am your SAVIOR!"

"In time, I will fill your every hunger by breaking down the barriers that keep you away from a healthy relationship with your Creator ...

"Soon, I will quench every thirst you have about faith, and you will come to learn that your salvation is NOT at all about what YOU DO! .... your salvation depends upon what I DO. And I will give you all that you need!"
"I will be the bread you hug when you sleep at night. Like in the story the children heard this morning. We can rest assured that we are beloved children of God because we sleep at night knowing the Jesus is our Savior."

NOW ... knowing that our needs were met yesterday, are met today and will be met tomorrow, NOW the question becomes real, not from the surface, but from the heart.

BECAUSE God loves me, BECAUSE God loves you, what can I do, what can you do, what can we do to further this kingdom of love, acceptance, abundance, and hope?

It is in the hearing and understanding of this question that our Family Camp participants harkened back to our first lesson for today. Not as a list of things to do IN ORDER THAT GOD WILL LOVE US ... but as an invitation of how to live with one another BECAUSE GOD LOVES US. (Eph 4: 1-8, 11-14)
“lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called,”
“with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
“But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ's gift.”
According to our folks at Family Camp ... we are all ministers of God.
We have all been given gifts from God that we are to use in response to God’s love for us.

We are to use our gifts of ministry in unity with one another ... in ways that further God’s love and our community!
This is our vision as children of God. To collectively use our gifts to the Glory of God!

What gifts, you may ask ... that ability to

mow the lawn
cook and/or bake
write notes
make banners
make phone calls
share connections
play an instrument
proof read
follow up
be a worker bee
feed the hungry
stand for justice
write curriculum
hold a hand
be last in line

And what are we missing as gifts of ministry.

Because sometimes we sell ourselves short.
Sometimes we do not believe we have anything to share.

BUT, as a child of God, you have been showered with gifts ... gifts that are given to you from God. Gifts that tell us the truth of our Savior:

I AM WHAT YOU NEED ... I am your staple. I am the bread of life. I am your sustenance. I am your SAVIOR!

So please, take the gifts I give you and lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called

Because friends, we are loved~and in that love we

must go about the glorious response to God’s love for us by sharing our gifts and being ministers in a questioning society.

Let us proclaim the sustenance of our Savior ...
Let us point to the bread we hug when we sleep at night.
Let us share our gifts in ways that transform our world in love.

So be it. Amen.

This is the sermon from August 5, 2012 at Bethel Lutheran Church. I share it, in part, because the people at family camp missed it, and since they were my main source of ideas ... I wanted them to see it. (You will have to ask to see the power point part as I have not included it here). I also share it to say to those who were at worship ... the blue section above was what was on the misplaced page 3 ... I hope I did it justice, off the top of my head. I found the page in the office on Tuesday. HAHAHA. I hope all enjoy this post. Feel free to comment.  God bless you!  Pastor Brenda

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