Resurrection Anglican Fellowship
July 22, 2018
Fr. Phil Eberhart
Have you ever noticed that whenever we TURN to the WORD - THE WORD TURNS TO US!
This morning's readings are a case in point. Over the past few weeks we've heard some long and powerful messages on what God is doing here among us, on our call to Unity and the position of leadership that this parish is in, in this place.
Along side those messages we're coming face to face with our need for provision from God, both through ourselves as we give, but beyond ourselves, as we hear Jesus say, "YOU GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO EAT."
This morning I feel the pain of Philip and the other disciples, in the face of what could have been a crowd of nearly 15,000 (unless only men came to hear Jesus, who accounted for 5000). They were scrambling trying to figure out what to do for dinner!
Do we send them away to find their own food? Jesus just sat there and let them "stew" - so to speak - and then gave them an instruction: "You give them something to eat!" Do we go and buy food? It would take almost a year's wages! They were stewing! And Jesus asked a question: "What do you have?" Do you have anything to offer?
You've already heard my sermon about the "school-boy's lunch." 5 barley loaves and two fish.
The fact is that even what they had wasn't really theirs. The school boy could have kept his lunch for himself - seems he was the only one who had the foresight to bring lunch! And he gave it up at their request. He was the one with all the faith!!
But even "such a little against such a great need." bows to the Name of Jesus as it is given to Him! And Jesus receives it from the boy and the disciples, He blesses it, breaks it and gives it?
Do you hear me? Jesus blesses what we give him - He breaks it - and He gives it for the needs of the world around us!
People were gathered in groups of 50 or 100 - that is 150-300 groups gathered around waiting for food! "You give them something to eat." The only thing in between their resources and the need of this crowd for food, was Jesus!
He blessed, he broke, He gave. Sound familiar.
It's the Eucharist. We enact this miracle every Sunday morning!
Every Sunday we receive the bread and wine from the back, along with the offering.
We bless them both! The Eucharistic bread is then broken and given - and during the week the offering is broken and given.
The point here is that Jesus is involved in it all. Not just involved but instrumental and the faith of a small boy is all that is required. Like a grain of mustard seed. As you give this morning, say to Jesus, as the boy with the lunch did, "All I have is your's Lord." I've done what I can, now You do what You can!
And over and over and over and over again, throughout this past year we have watched Jesus take, and break and give what we have given Him - and here we are. This is impossible! From the natural world's perspective - from the financial world's perspective - from almost any perspective you want to take - this cannot happen! But it has!!
Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever! He is still in our midst - does anyone here contest that? NO! We cannot contest that this has been a God-thing from day one!
When asked how this is possible - I just shrug my shoulders and say - we are like a bumble bee ... No one has said we can't fly yet? So have we realized we can't fly, and decided to start walking everywhere?
NO! Why? because the preponderance of our experience proves otherwise to us. A page and a half list of miracles, proves to us that the Word is true. The word that is on the back table - someone bring that up here to me...
This has been sitting in my office since Lawrence made it for me - I thought it as cute - inspired even - but I really never gave much thought to its meaning. Until I was reminded of its words again and again and again in the past year:
[Psa 44:3 KJV] 3 For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.
Listen to it again:
Our forefathers didn’t win these battles
by their own strength
or their own skill or strategy.
But it was through the shining forth
of your radiant presence
and the display of your mighty power.
You loved to give them victory,
for you took great delight in them.
Has God changed His mind? NO.
Were the disciples in an impossible situation? YES.
Put there by Jesus himself? ummm... YES.
What was Jesus doing?
What Jesus is always doing? - getting the disciples ready for life in the Kingdom of God! Proving and improving their faith - their willingness, their availability and their obedience?
Are you willing? Are you available to God ( not are you "able for God!") and finally are you going to do things My Way - God's way? Are you going to be obedient?
These are not easy lessons - they are life long processes as Jesus grows us into the kind of Kingdom people that see through His eyes. The kind of Kingdom people who see the people around us as He does.
More and more we are to be a 24/7 People of God! That is what we are moving towards here in this place. That is where God wants us - given to Him and His agenda, every day, 24/7. And like the disciples who walked with him, He constantly is putting us into situations where we have to choose - our way, the world's way ... or His way.
Just one life verse for this parish to end. You can say it with me:
"Trust in the Lord with all your might, and lean not on your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge HIM, and HE will direct (or make straight) your paths."
And again from the Passion Translation: vv 5-10
5 Trust in the Lord completely,
and do not rely on your own opinions.
With all your heart rely on him to guide you,
and he will lead you in every decision you make.
6 Become intimate with him in whatever you do,
and he will lead you wherever you go.[b]
Don’t think for a moment that you know it all,[c]
7 for wisdom comes when you adore him with undivided devotion
and avoid everything that’s wrong.
8 Then you will find the healing refreshment
your body and spirit long for.[d]
9 Glorify God with all your wealth,
honoring him with your very best,[e]
with every increase that comes to you.
10 Then every dimension of your life will overflow with blessings
from an uncontainable source of inner joy!
Shall we pray:
Lord Jesus Christ,
You have called us to the impossible as a way of life!
Teach us to wait on You, to praise You and look up each day for Your hand. Open our eyes to see You at work in our own lives and in the world around us. Fill us with wonder, love and praise.
As we come to Your table this morning, remind us what it is that you are doing today - taking our lives, breaking us for multiplication, and giving us out in the world around us - Open our eyes to see Your purpose in each and every day.
As we go from Your table this morning, fill us with grace to walk in Your light and favor. Make us a miracle-working 24/7 Kingdom people. In the challenges, be our supply. Let us see Your hand at work, in and to us, and out and through us!
We ask these things for the sake of your Kingdom, Jesus and for the fame of Your Name, in Greenwood Village, in Denver, in Colorado and the USA and around the world! Let your Kingdom come and your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!
Amen and Amen.