Worship August 2, 2020
I welcome you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Can you believe it is August 2, 2020? Didn’t we just blink and it was Valentine’s Day and there was snow on the ground.
And time moves on and so do we. Give God all the glory for a life that moves on.
Lord, we come to you this day in the midst of our summer months. For many this is a time of relaxation; but for others, the burdens, worries, and cares continue to weigh them down. Be with each of us as we open our ears to hear your words, our hearts to feel your presence, and our spirits to receive your healing touch. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.
And now join together in singing Hymn # 405 Seek Ye First
Hymn UMH # 405 Seek Ye First
Children’s Message Ben Ziegler
Scripture Matthew 14: 13-21 (CEB)
Hello, I am sharing with you the story of Jesus feeding the Five thousand
Please pray with me
Almighty God, in you are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Open our eyes that we may see the wonders of your Word; and give us grace that we may clearly understand and freely choose the way of your wisdom; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
I am reading from Matthew 14:13-21
13 When Jesus heard about John, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. When the crowds learned this, they followed him on foot from the cities. 14 When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick. 15 That evening his disciples came and said to him, “This is an isolated place and it’s getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”
16 But Jesus said to them, “There’s no need to send them away. You give them something to eat.”17 They replied, “We have nothing here except five loaves of bread and two fish.”
18 He said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves of bread and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them and broke the loaves apart and gave them to his disciples. Then the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 Everyone ate until they were full, and they filled twelve baskets with the leftovers. 21 About five thousand men plus women and children had eaten.
Hear what the Spirit is saying. Amen
Charles Swindoll tells a funny story about a nine-year-old named Danny who came bursting out of Sunday school like a wild horse. His eyes were darting in every direction as he tried to locate either mom or dad.
Finally, after a quick search, he grabbed his Daddy by the leg and yelled, “Man, that story of Moses and all those people crossing the Red Sea was great!” His father looked down proudly, smiled, and asked the boy to tell him about it.
“Well, the Israelites got out of Egypt, but Pharaoh and his army chased after them. So the Jews ran as fast as they could until they got to the Red Sea. The Egyptian Army was gettin’ closer and closer. So Moses got on his walkie-talkie and told the Israeli Air Force to bomb the Egyptians. While that was happening, the Israeli Navy built a pontoon bridge so the people could cross over. They made it!
By now old dad was shocked. “Is THAT the way they taught you the story?” Well, no, not exactly,” Danny admitted, “but if I told you the way they told it to us, you’d never believe it, Dad.”
As you read the story of feeding the 5000 with two loaves of bread and five fish do you believe it?
As adults we tend to need the black and white of a story – all the details in order to prove the validity of the tale. What a joy it would be to have a childlike imagination again, to be able to just believe the what and not to question the how.
With a childlike imagination we would have room to believe the incredible stories of the bible. Instead of wondering HOW Jesus feed 5000 with just two loaves of bread and five fish we might give more focus to the WHY he did it.
At this point in Matthew’s writing, Jesus has returned to Capernaum from Nazareth. He has experienced the rejection by his hometown people and the news of the execution of John the Baptist.
Jesus hears about the death of his cousin John and heads for a quiet place. Perhaps he needed time to mourn John’s death or perhaps he needed time to think and pray about what was happening and his place in the future. Perhaps he knew he needed to gather Spiritual strength to prepare himself for what was coming.
Although Jesus is seeking solitude, as word spreads that he is in a boat and on the move a crowd starts to gather following him along the shore. When he finally comes ashore a large crowd is already there.
The Matthew narrative tells us that there are 5000 men but no mention of the women and children that would have also been in attendance. It is estimated that the total crowd could have been upward of 10,000. This number would have been larger than most villages in the area.
Today’s story from Matthew’s Gospel gives us some of the basic ingredients for seeing the world as Jesus sees it. Remember how the story began: “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick . . .”
Seeing the world as Jesus sees it begins with compassion. Do you see our world though eyes of compassion when you look at the people around you? Jesus looked at everyone he met with eyes of compassion.
A man named Al Wiener survived the Nazi concentration camps of World War II. He entered a labor camp when he was 15. Years in those camps took their toll. Over time his weight dropped to 80 pounds and he was weak and always hungry. He was slowly starving to death.
In one labor camp he worked in a textile factory. There were German women who worked in the textile factory. They were forbidden from speaking to prisoners like Al. They were not even allowed to look them in the eye. One day a German woman pointed, motioning for Al to go to another part of the room. Al waited until no one was looking and he went to the spot she had picked out. She pointed to a crate and walked away. Al lifted the crate and found a sandwich. A precious, precious sandwich. How we take such riches for granted. Al ate the sandwich quickly while no one was looking.
Every day for two months the woman left a sandwich under that crate for him. She risked her life for him. Al says her sandwiches probably saved his life.
Al believes that God used this woman’s heroic and charitable acts to save him so that today he can tell others his story and the story of millions of unfortunate people who were executed by the Nazis.
What would the world be without compassionate people, people who are willing to feel the pain of those less fortunate than themselves? Compassion is a gift from God.
Compassion was Jesus’ default setting. Compassion was at the very core of Jesus’ nature. Jesus, God the Son, walked and lived on earth showing compassion to all he met.
Jesus’ compassion for us is what led him to die for us on the cross. It was the only way to save us from our sins and restore us to God.
You walk into almost any Christian gathering in any corner of the world and you’ll see a cross displayed there. Why? Because to the followers of Jesus Christ, the cross is the greatest symbol of compassion in the world.
A woman named Siobhan [Chev-ON] Kukolic tells about a friend of hers who teaches first grade in Toronto, Canada. This friend was teaching math to a class of six-year-olds, including a group of newly arrived refugee children. The lesson that day was on fractions. The teacher explained the difference between a quarter and a half in fractions. Then she asked the class to write down whether they would prefer to have a quarter of a chocolate bar or a half of a chocolate bar.
The teacher was surprised by the results of that little quiz. As she looked over their papers, she noticed that many of her refugee students wrote that they preferred the quarter of a chocolate bar instead of a half. The teacher was concerned that these students hadn’t understood the lesson. But before correcting their math, she asked them why they chose a quarter of the chocolate bar rather than a half. One little girl answered, “So that more people could have a piece of chocolate.” (3)
Two groups of children looked at the same thing—a chocolate bar—and one group saw a delicious snack while the other saw an opportunity to share something good with others. It’s all in what you see.
Jesus and his disciples had traveled to a remote place. Crowds of people followed them, perhaps as many as 10,000—all of them wanting to be close to Jesus. Obviously, they thought they would receive something from him.
As the day passed, the disciples got tired. They asked Jesus to send the people away. It wasn’t simply a matter of fatigue. They were concerned that the people wouldn’t find enough to eat in the surrounding countryside. But Jesus said the strangest thing: “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
“Say, what?” the disciples thought to themselves. Feed this mob of people? No way!
We need to understand that Jesus often led his disciples into challenging situations—situations that required courage and insight and radical faith—situations that seemed too big for them. This was certainly no exception.
Why would he do that? It was because he saw something they didn’t see. He saw the world with God’s eyes. He saw a world in which anything was possible if you were aligned with God.
Football fans know the name Joe Burrow. Burrow led his team, the LSU Bengal Tigers, to last year’s national championship in football. He also won the 2019 Heisman trophy as the nation’s most outstanding player. At the ceremony in which he accepted that trophy he used his moment in the spotlight to speak some words of encouragement to the kids back in his hometown, Athens, Ohio.
You may know that Athens, Ohio is one of the poorest towns in the Appalachian region. Through tears, Burrow said, “. . . I’m up here for all those kids in Athens and Athens County that go home to not a lot of food on the table, hungry after school.” Then he added, “You guys can be up here, too.”
Within hours of Burrows’ words, a man in Athens County named Will Drabold set up a fundraising site to raise money for the Athens County Food Pantry. He was counting on Joe Burrow’s words of compassion to inspire others. And he was right. Curious fans began searching for information on Athens County, Ohio. Within two days, generous folks around the country donated $260,000 to the Athens County Food Pantry. All because they were moved by Burrows’ compassion for needy kids in his community.
Jesus modeled compassion for us. Open the New Testament of the bible and read the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In these books you will find example after example of Jesus modeling the very definition of compassion.
Compassion literally means “suffer with.” God calls us to come alongside of people who are suffering and suffer with them, so they are not alone. It doesn’t mean we can fix the problem, but it does mean we can enter into their pain. Before we act on or practice this belief, we must believe it is God’s call on the life of all Christ followers. When we believe this in our heart, we will show compassion to all people, especially to those in need. This is not a “do as I say, not as I do” command from the Lord. God himself is merciful and full of compassion.
Throughout his teaching ministry, Jesus instructed his followers to show compassion to people in need. Toward the very end of his life on earth, Jesus provided his disciples with divine insight into the ministry of compassion to the poor and needy. He tells them their acts of compassion now have eternal consequences.
In chapter 3 of the book of Colossians chapter 3 we read
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…and be thankful.” Holy living is peace, love, gentleness, and kindness.
Let every detail of your life represent Jesus: your actions, words, what you see and what you think. Let it be done in honor of God.
No it is not easy, and that’s why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide and teach us. Put to rest the ways of our old-life and ask the Holy Spirit to help you live a new life that is pleasing to God.
One more story…Albert Schmidt writes of being at the home of little five-year-old George after the funeral of George’s seven-year-old brother, who was also his closest friend and playmate. Little George was so distraught at the gravesite that he had tried to jump into the grave himself. Now at home, he had buried himself and his grief under the bottom of the double-decker bed in their room. He wouldn’t come out. He just said, “I’m here and I’m never coming out.” His mother tried. Schmidt tried, talking until he was blue in the face. Nothing worked. Arguments. Bribes. Nothing. Finally, Schmidt said the Lord got his attention with a two-by-four; and with that, Schmidt got down on the floor, squeezed under the bed frame so the springs almost punctured his chest, and said to the grief-stricken little fellow, “Well, if you’re going to stay here for the rest of your life, then I’m going to stay here with you.”
Schmidt says this is what happened. “After fifteen minutes of eternity, George decided we would crawl out and join the rest of the folks. His mom gave us cookies and milk. It felt like a sacramental meal to me.” (“Under the Double-Decker Bed,” Tapestry, Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1985, pp. 123-124)
Cookies and milk, a sacramental meal. Yes, indeed, a taste of God’s tomorrow. Even in our greatest pain and deepest hunger, in the limits beyond which none of us can see or go in certain moments of our lives, there is God. Always for us in bread and wine, sometimes even in milk and cookies. Just as it satisfied the crowd fed by Jesus long ago, so it will satisfy you today. You will have tasted God’s tomorrow, and that is something. Amen
Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer
Lord, we have heard the story of Jacob as he wrestled with the angel, how he asked for the angel to bless him. We, too, come to you for blessing. There are so many times in our lives in which we have felt alienated, downtrodden, alone. It is easy for us to wallow in our misery, to whine about all the perceived injustices that have been heaped upon us. But you encourage us to stand strong; to seek the blessings that you have provided for us; to recognize the many ways that you are with us, giving us strength and courage. Be with us again, precious Lord. Guide our lives. As we have brought our prayers before you for those near and dear to us, seeking healing and hope for them; let us also remember that those same mercies are lavished upon us, not because we deserve them, but because of your great and generous love for us. Help us receive these blessings and, in turn, be a blessing to someone else. For we ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior. AMEN.
And now in the words Jesus taught His disciples, we too pray…
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen
Hymn UMH # 640 Take Our Bread
Communion and Prayer of Thanksgiving
On the night in which he gave himself up for us,
he took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread,
gave it to his disciples, and said:
“Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
When the supper was over, he took the cup,
gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples, and said:
“Drink from this, all of you;
this is my blood of the new covenant,
poured out for you and for many
for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it,
in remembrance of me.”
in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving
as a holy and living sacrifice,
in union with Christ’s offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery of faith.
Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here,
and on these gifts of bread and wine.
Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ,
that we may be for the world the body of Christ,
redeemed by his blood.
By your Spirit make us one with Christ,
one with each other,
and one in ministry to all the world,
until Christ comes in final victory
and we feast at his heavenly banquet.
Through your Son Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church,
all honor and glory is yours, almighty Father,
now and forever. Amen.
The body of Christ, given for you. Amen.
The blood of Christ, given for you. Amen.
Eternal God, we give you thanks for this holy mystery in which you have given yourself to us.
Grant that we may go into the world in the strength of your Spirit, to give ourselves for others, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer of Dedication
Lord Jesus, I give you my hands to do your work. I give you my feet to go your way. I give you my tongue to speak your words. I give you my mind that you may think in me. I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me your Father and all mankind.
HYMN UMH # 672 Verses 1 & 4 God Be with You till We Meet Again
Go forth in peace.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit
be with you all. Amen.
Lawn Chair Worship continues through August (weather permitting) at 10:30 Sunday morning. Online worship and mailings also continue so please if you have health conditions that put you at a higher risk for contracting the COVID virus, please allow yourself the privilege of staying home.