A Communion Faith
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October 2, 2016
World Communion Sunday

Matthew 14:13-21

Grace and Peace to you this morning. Grace and Peace.

Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself.

What is it that Jesus heard? Herod had just killed John the Baptizer. John’s disciples took John’s body and buried him. And then they went and told Jesus. And Jesus, goes away to a deserted place. What was he doing there?

Remembering John.

Lamenting the powers that be like Herod who would kill a messenger of God. Grieving his friend, mentor, the one who baptized him. Getting prayed up for what is to come.

But Jesus does not get left alone in the Gospel. Have you seen Jesus? Yeah, he just left. Got in a boat. And by the time he lands on the other side, the crowd has already gotten there.

Here’s where we see one of the differences between us and Jesus. Jesus is grieving, and the crowds won’t leave him alone. But he doesn’t turn and say mean, nasty, ugly things to them. He has compassion upon them and heals them.

The love of God is not overwhelmed by our needs.

How many of us are overwhelmed? I get overwhelmed by the needs of the world all the time. It is a crazy time. Another shooting. Another insane election story. Another tragedy. Another Ecclesiastes moment.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

But the news seems to constantly be about a time to die; a time to kill, a time to break down, a time to weep, a time to mourn, a time to lose; a time to tear, a time to hate; and a time for war

And it is overwhelming.

The disciples are people like you and me. On the one hand, they are trying to be like Jesus. On the other, they get overwhelmed. They are already following the way of Jesus, but they are not yet following the way of Jesus. Just like us.

As it started to get dark and stomachs started to make those noises that they do as dinner time approaches, the disciples came to Jesus and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”

We know Jesus is Lord, that God is our King, that it is the Holy Spirit which gifts us with what we need to not simply survive this world but to also help transform this world, but we are still too much of the world to fully trust these things.

But the love of God, which we know best in Jesus does not get overwhelmed. Even as God’s love grieves and mourns and laments and rages against the injustice of the death of John the Baptizer, God’s love is not overwhelmed by the needs of those who are hurting, those who are hungry, those with our all too human needs.

Chip Hastings at Central Congregational Church in Dallas had a sign on his desk: The Lord does not Panic.

We know Jesus is where the real sustenance is found, but this is too big of a crowd, so let’s send them to fend for themselves.

We know that God provides all that we need to do and be the church that God needs us to do and to be, but we panic about the budget and we forget.

We know that all that we need has been supplied to us, but the world preaches scarcity and the need for security and the demand for more so loudly that we forget the lilies of the field, the birds of the air, the love of God that does not panic.

But Jesus does not panic. He calmly takes the five loaves and two fish. And he blesses them, he breaks them, and he gives them to the disciples to distribute to those who are hungering.

And it was not enough. Make no mistake. It was not enough. No. It was way more than enough. Leftovers. Baskets of leftovers. Baskets equal in number to the tribes of Israel.

One of the amazing things about this church lately is that we have seen this scene play out over and over again. When we go to feed people, there is more than enough. Every time we feed people in Jesus’ name, we find we have more than enough and it goes to feed more people.

Extra supplies from one meal become part of a community dinner. Leftovers become a meal for those without food.

Friends, I get it. We are overwhelmed. But the Lord does not panic. And with Jesus, there is always more than enough.

Thanks be to God. Amen.