Sermons 2008
Who, me? Proper 13A, 3 August 2008, Matthew 14:13-21

Home | Light and Love, Christmas 1B , 28 December 2008, John 1:1-18 | The light and the darkness, Christmas Day, 25 December 2008, John 1:1-14 | What would you see? Christmas Eve, 24 December 2008, Luke 2:1-20 | What did you say? Advent 3B, 14 December 2008, John 1:6-8. 19-28 | A refining fire, Advent 2B, 7 Dec 2008, Mark 1:1-8 | Alert, alert! Advent 1B, 30 November 2008, Mark 13:24-37 | Where will we stand: sheep or goats? Proper 29A 2008, 23 November 2008, Matthew 25: 31-46 | The talents to...? Proper 28A, 16 November 2008, Matthew 25:14-30 | Choose this day, Proper 27A, 9 November 2008, Joshua 24:14-25; Matthew 25:1-13 | All Saints A, 2 November 2008, Matthew 5:1-12; 23:1-12 | Holy or not? Proper 25A, 26 October 2008, Matthew 22:34-46 | Things: God's or Caesar's? Proper 24A, 19 October 2008, Matthew 22:15-22 | The wedding and the allegory, Proper 23A, 12 October 2008, Matthew 22:1-14 | The vineyard and the rock, Proper 22A. 5 October 2008, Matthew 21:33-46 | Deference and disobedience, Proper 21A, 28 September 2008, Exodus 17:1-7; Matthew 21:23-32 | Be content, Proper 20A , 21 September 2008, Matthew 20:1-16 | Only one true church? Proper 18A, 7 September 1008, Matthew 18:15-20 | Be content! Proper 20A, 21 September 2008, Matthew 22:1-16 | Be content! Proper 20A, 21 September 2008, Matthew 20:1-16 | Holy Name and Holy Ground, Proper 17A, Exodus 3:1-15; Matthew 16:21-28 | What's in a name? Proper 16A, 24 August 2008, Matthew 16:13-20 | Dogs? Proper 15A, 17 August 2008, Matthew 15:10-28 | Time to get out of the boat, Proper 14A, 10 August 2008, Matthew 14:22-33 | Who, me? Proper 13A, 3 August 2008, Matthew 14:13-21 | LIKE what? Proper 12A, 27 July 2008, Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 | Good seed, bad seed, Proper 11A , 20 July 2008, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 | Watch the Farmer, Proper 10A, 13 July 2009, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 | Easy Yoke? Proper 9A 2008, 6 July 2008, Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 | Baptism of David William and Anne Tyler, Proper 8A, 29 June 2008 | The Twelve or the Dirty Dozen? Proper 6A, 15 June 2008, Matthew 9:35-10:15 | Jesus likes sinners?, Proper 5A, 8 June 2008, Matthew 9:9-13 | Lawlessness or not? Pentecost 3A, Proper 4A, 1 June 2008, Matthew 7:21-29 | What do you mean, if? Easter 6A, 27 April 2008, John 14:15-21 | Comforting words and St Thomas, Easter 5A, 20 April 2008, John 14:1-14 | Ordinary good shepherds, Easter 4A 2008, 13 April 2008, John 10:1-10 | Light for clarity, Easter 3A, 6 April 2008, Luke 24:13-35 | "Blessed are those who....", Easter 2A, 30 March 2008, John 20:19-31 | Hallelujah! He's alive! Easter Sunday A, 23 March 2008, John 20:1-18 | He had it all, Palm Sunday A, 16 March 2008, Matthew 26:14-27:54 | Lazarus: Waiting for Jesus, Lent 5A, 9 March 2008, John 11:1-45 | Miracles Physical and Spiritual, Lent 4A, 2 March 2008, John 9:1-41 | Living Water, Lent 3A, 24 February 2008, John 4:5-42 | God's unselfish love, Lent 2A, 17 February 2008, John 3:1-17 | Temptation, Lent 1A, 10 February 2008 | Ash Wednesday, 6 February 2008, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 | They heard the Lord call, Epiphany 3A, 20 Jan 2008, Matthew 4:12-23 | Come and See! Epiphany 2A, 20 January 2008, John 1: 29-42 | Remember Your Baptism? Epiphany 1A, 13 January 2008, Matthew 3:13-17 | We Three Kings, The Epiphany, 6 January 2008, Matthew 2:1-12

Proper 13A 2008 Matthew 14:13-21

Last week our Gospel was Jesus’ telling his disciples what the Kingdom of Heaven was like: The tiny mustard seed planted in a field and then grows into a great tree... like yeast in dough... like treasure hidden in a field... like the net thrown into the sea.

There is an essential hiddenness about the kingdom of heaven in these parables. It is hidden in the ordinary events and things and people all around us. We can see it if we know how to look and where to look. IF we look.

This Sunday’s gospel is the story of the feeding of the 5,000. It also points out how hard it is to see the kingdom in these ordinary people, events, and activities that are all around us. And in this case we have to say that this event was something rather out of the ordinary, even if ordinary people were involved. Even the very language we use confuses us, keeps the keeps the treasure hidden, obscures the kingdom of heaven from our sight. It’s hidden by our language, by our perceptions, by our philosophies, by our passions, by our prejudices and mindsets, and by our doubts such a thing as the kingdom of heaven.

Something like that happened to the disciples that late afternoon by the lake. There may have been as many as 20,000 people (counting women and children) gathered there by the lake and it was getting dark. It was getting dark enough to worry the disciples.

Were the disciples genuinely concerned about feeding the thousands and thousands of people. After all, it was difficult enough to wrest a living from the dry fields and meager waters of the Sea of Galilee. Even today, much of the tension surrounding the question of Palestinian and Israeli survival is the question of water and who controls it.

On the other hand, the text also seems to be saying that the disciples were afraid that they might have to be responsible for all those people. It was a new and frightening experience for these relatively unsophisticated men. Anyone who has had to put on a large dinner or plan a large meeting over lunch can relate to the logistics around so many thousands of people. Too many things can go wrong. And will there be enough?

The witness of all four gospels is that the disciples didn’t get it, didn’t figure out what was really going on until it was almost too late. The essential of who Jesus really was t remained hidden from the disciples despite the succession of miracles of healing that occurred almost daily since they began traveling with Jesus. Miracles which had in fact occurred all through that very day, right up until evening came upon them.

The really interesting thing about the disciples during Jesus’ earthly ministry is how very human they were, how full of very and ordinary human frailty and weakness and foibles and fears. One often wonders what Jesus really thought about these ordinary people whom he was trying to transform into Apostles, Saints, and Martyrs. After all the kingdom of heaven shouldn’t have been hidden from them, they saw it unfolding before them all day, every day. And yet they still couldn’t see it.

The disciples wanted to get rid of the problem. Send the people away, send them into nearby villages and towns to buy their own food. That way we don’t have to be responsible, we don’t have to take action, we don’t have to do any thing, we can just wash our hands of it.

But Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” An emphatic imperative. And the disciples understood it as: “YOU! You give them something to eat.”

They gathered what they could find : Five loaves of bread and two fish. And when it had all been handed out twelve small baskets were left over. Just ordinary bread, ordinary salt fish. It was more than enough.

We can make all sorts of rational explanations about this miracle. Some people even believe that it all might have happened much like the gospels record. When we try to come to grips with miracles like this they lie just beyond the grasp of our rational minds.

There was once a very small community of the faithful. Each year the good people of that small parish worked hard and gave several thousand dollars to a nearby Free Health Clinic, which some of them had helped found and in which some of them worked many hours. Because their bishop knew of their work he gave $6,000.00. And because the people of the parish were involved and dedicated with their time and energy and treasure, and because their bishop put some real money on it, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund granted $225,000.00. And each year some thousands of dollars continue to flow to the clinic, the Haven, and other institutions this now not so small parish has helped to sustain. Those are ordinary events concerning the ordinary activities of ordinary people that constitute miraculous acts of the kingdom of heaven.

YOU! You give something to eat. YOU! You take care of them. He’s talking to us.


Drawn in part from InterNet and other sources: eSermons, Selected Sermons, Lectionary Homiletics, SermonMall, Sunday Sermons, Pulpit Resource, Minister’s Annual Manuals.