Thursday, July 31, 2014

Serving the Multitude

The Nave of Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia
(five-star dining for those experiencing homelessness)

Having just recently returned from a week-long mission immersion in Center City Philadelphia, many of our youth are still adjusting to life lived with abundance. Our shared experience at Broad Street Ministry served as an eye-opener to the complex set of realities that impact the lives of many of the unseen, unnoticed, and under-appreciated of our society. We walk by them most of the time, busy with our own agendas and concerns. We are a country preoccupied with self.

Jesus calls us to be mindful of the other. Love your neighbor. Love your enemy. Serve, forgive, give, heal, encourage, clothe, shelter, feed. No mere suggestions, these directives are meant to directly form what we do. We are meant to be instruments of God's peace.

In this Sunday's gospel reading we hear the familiar passage of the multiplication of loaves and fishes and the feeding of the thousands. Take a few minutes are read over this passage (Matthew 14:13-21). How are we like the disciples in this passage? Is there a miracle described here?  If so, what is it? 
+            +            +

Addy Fry took some time upon her return from Philadelphia to produce the video below. Look, see, share:

+            +            +

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
August 3, 2014

Prayer of the Day
Glorious God, your generosity waters the world with goodness, 
and you cover creation with abundance. 
Awaken in us a hunger for the food that satisfies both body and spirit, 
and with his food fill all the starving world, 
through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen

Isaiah 55:1-5
Psalm 145:14-21
Romans 9:1-5
Matthew 14: 13-21

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Vincent van Gogh, The Sower, June 1888
Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands

There is something peaceful and optimistic about the notion of sowing seeds. Certainly, Van Gogh's rendering of the act is idyllic if not nostalgic. (Some say Van Gogh was inspired by Millet's earlier effort, see below.)

In the so-called parable of the sower, Jesus harnesses agrarian imagery to convey the truth of God's Word encountering various types and conditions of people and circumstances. Take a few minutes to read Matthew 13:1-9. There are many perspectives from which we could view this and begin to engage the text. Whether we consider the sower, the soils or the seeds, each has to be seen as instrumental. Without all three, there would be no harvest. The harvest is the point. What do you think?

What roll does anxiety play in all of this? Do we become preoccupied with conditions and quantities at the expense of actually sowing the Word of God? Are we waiting for the opportune time? Do we anticipate or require prime circumstances before we get to work?

Jean-François Millet, The Sower, 1850
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Maybe because we think our means and methods of getting the word out are so technologically sophisticated and require such little risk to our person, that the task of one-on-one, eyeball-to-eyeball testifying has been reclassified as obsolete, useless. If so, how is that working for us?

I have no idea who this is or where this picture was taken. 

+            +            +

This Sunday I am going to begin a three-week Faith Formation Forum series. I hesitate to share the topic with you, as you may get the wrong idea. Suffice it to say that it is important, timely, and crucial to our vitality as a congregation.  Invite a friend or neighbor to come along with you. Meanwhile, below is a preview of this Sunday:

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
July 13, 2014

Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, we thank you for planting in is the seed of your word. 
By your Holy Spirit help us to receive it with joy, 
live according to it, 
and grow in faith and hope and love, 
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen

Isaiah 55:10-13
Psalm 65:9-13
Romans 8:1-11
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23