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Let these gifts to us be blessed

by davesandel on July 25th, 2021

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 25, 2021         (today’s lectionary)

Let these gifts to us be blessed

The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs. Let all your works give you thanks, let your faithful ones bless you and look hopefully to you. You open your hand and give us our food in due season. You are near to all who call on you.

How many semis bring food and drink to us every night while we’re asleep? Groceries are always full, restaurants rarely run out of staples, I am thoroughly and absolutely spoiled by the agricultural miracles and logistical magic that make this happen, day after day after day.

I have to pay for it, but hardly through the nose. Food is plentiful for most of us in America. Dumpsters out back are bursting too. I am not the only spoiled one.

While Pam is here, we eat out once every couple of days and make our own food otherwise. Thai curry, Smokey Mo BBQ, Kobe Steakhouse teppanyaki for Pam’s birthday (which is today!), while at home we ate eggs and ham, fresh peaches and Michigan cherries, cod loin and asparagus, melon with prosciutto, milk and cream and espresso and sparkling water and white wine and … and Dr. Pepper. Our frying pans get a workout, our refrigerator is full, and there seems never to be an end.

Live your lives with all humility and gentleness, patiently bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.

Of course, there is an end. Just take a two day walk into the mountains with five thousand other folks, and see how much you have to eat. Armies supply themselves for awhile, then they help themselves to food on farms they are passing through. But armies have the guns, and if I’m walking with a crowd of regular folks, I at least won’t have a gun. Anyway, who wants to steal from someone else? Until you’re starving, I guess.

Jesus sat down on the mountain with his disciples and raised his eyes. A crowd of five thousand or more had followed them, and they sat down in the grass. A boy had five barley loaves and two fish, so Jesus gave thanks and shared the loaves and fishes with the people, and when the disciples gathered the leftovers they collected twelve wicker baskets of bread, more than the crowd could eat. The people wanted to carry him off and make him king, but Jesus left them then and went alone into the mountains.

Jesus managed the agriculture and the logistics by being obedient to what he heard his Father saying, and then asking his disciples to be obedient to what he told them. And there was enough bread left over to feed an army. No one starved that day.

This really is the kind of miracle that gets you made king, but Jesus kept on listening to his Father and left them hanging. In the desert he told off the devil, and on that mountainside he made the same thing clear to all those people. We do NOT live by bread alone, but by EVERY word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

There is one body and one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Jesus was quoting Moses as he reminded first Satan and then the children of Israel of God’s goodness. For the Lord is bringing you into a land of brooks and springs of water, of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey, a land where you will eat bread without end, where you will lack nothing. You will eat and be filled, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.

How sweet it is to be loved by You!

Elisha insisted, “Give the barley loaves to the people to eat. The Lord says they shall eat and there shall be some left over.” And there was.

Farmers and their families all across the world come in from the work and wash their hands, sit down at their tables, give thanks and eat. Come Lord Jesus be our guest. Bless us O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive from your bounty. And by the power of planters and combines and semi-trucks and distribution networks and all-night stocking clerks and grocery checkers and frying pans heated by electricity and gas (oh my gosh, there’s a whole other thing I take for granted!), we get to join those farmers, and Elisha, and Jesus, and forever and a day say THANK YOU!

(2 Kings 4, Psalm 145, Ephesians 4, Luke 7, John 6)

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