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Feeding, Healing, and Abundance

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

This week I had the privilege of visiting with Dr and Mrs Baker, two of our homebound members.

Part of the ministry of our congregation is bringing a little taste of church to those who can’t get here.

I always enjoy these visits, hearing stories, singing, and sharing communion.

This week, however, when I opened up my communion kit, I was surprised to see only two wafers in there.

I had done a visit earlier in the day, and had restocked the wine, but somehow forgot about the wafers.

What to do? I still had another visit to go.

So I did the only thing I could—break one wafer into three, and pray.

It’s what Jesus did, after all—today in our gospel lesson.

Perhaps winding up with a big crowd and no caterer was poor planning.

According to Philip, six months wages wouldn’t buy enough food for a crowd that size.

But Jesus took what resources there were-- a boy’s lunch-- and prayed

He gave thanks to God, divided them among the people, and everyone ate.

It was enough, and more than enough, for 12 baskets were leftover afterward.

Or perhaps it wasn’t poor planning at all.

John comments that Jesus knew what he was going to do to feed the multitude.

It was a teachable moment.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus’ miracles are called signs.

They are meant to point to a larger truth about Jesus and his mission.

Jesus’ first sign is turning water in to wine. His second is healing the son of a royal official.

And in this his third sign, Jesus feeds people.

Simply from these three signs (there are, in fact, four more) you can tell some things

About the larger truth Jesus was pointing to.

There are many truths you could draw out, but among them is that Jesus cared about human bodies.

He cared about bodily enjoyment at the wedding feast.

He healed people’s bodies.

And here in John chapter 6, Jesus feeds people’s bodies.

On very basic level, this sign points to the truth that part of Jesus’ mission is ensuring that all have enough.

And how does he do this?

Through the hands of his disciples.

This point is not lost on me.

This weekend we sent another team to serve the meal and worship with the Friday night community

At Grace Lutheran Church in Hartford.

Two sets of casseroles are in our church freezer, waiting to be delivered

To this meal which has grown to feed 100 people every week.

School supplies are collecting in the bin for the back to school backpacks.

And here in the sanctuary, we will share healing prayer during communion.

Prayer shawls knitted and prayed over by members adorn our worship space,

And pocket prayer shawls are here to take home with you.

All of these ministries are the works of Jesus through our hands.

Like the disciples who distributed simple barley loaves, a poor man’s food,

Our call is to bring whatever resources we have to Jesus’ work in the world.

Our call is to trust that no matter how small or inadequate our time, talent or treasure seems to us,

Jesus works in and through us, and it is enough.

It is more than enough—it is abundant.

Scholars have long speculated about how Jesus fed all those people.

Was it a supernatural miracle, where Jesus somehow turned ordinary bread and fish

Into an everlasting source of nutrition?

Or was it a miracle of generosity, where someone witnessed the boy sharing his lunch,

And inspired (and perhaps a little shamed), takes something out of their own bag?

To me, the feeding of the 5000 is like any economy:

when resources are moving around, when they are shared, there is enough for everyone.

Today we witness one aspect of this abundance in the community of faith.

Today we offer healing prayer along with communion.

We have the chance to meditate on Jesus’ loving concern and care for our bodies and the bodies of others:

Feeding us and healing us.

You can do the healing prayer first at the back of the church—

you don’t have to wait for an usher to direct you.

Or do communion first and then join Pr Bill or me for prayer.

When you are in your seat, I invite you support your fellow members receiving healing prayer with your prayers.

Together we are Jesus’ healing hands

Together we share Jesus’ abundance

Together we have enough.

It was just one wafer, but it fed all of us.

It was just a few barley loaves and fish, but it fed a multitude.

In God’s kingdom, there is enough for everyone.

We have the privilege of sharing with our hands, and knowing God’s abundance.

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