Saturday, August 2, 2008

Proper 13 - August 3, 2008

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church

10653 N – 550 W
Decatur, IN 46733

A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith
Acts 2:42

Celebrating our 170th Year
Chartered February 25, 1838

August 3, 2008
Proper 13
Matthew 14:13-21

Jesus feeds 5,000 with five loaves and two fish. More than any other episode, the feeding of a crowd of thousands of people is related six times in Holy Scripture. Apparently, this fact points to the importance with which the apostolic church held it. The account shows us Jesus’ power over nature, and His use of the disciples in feeding the multitude.

Several items are noteworthy: Jesus’ compassion for the needy, His power to make so much of so little, His partnership of the disciples, and the oversupply of food. The Lord provides. We have been blessed! Let us pray to the Lord…

Gracious Father, Your blessed Son came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world. Give us this bread, that He may live in us and we in Him.”

: The miracle of feeding 5,000 with five loaves is a vehicle that carries several important truths. If we see only a miracle and nothing more, we miss the point. Apparently this episode was very important to the apostolic church because all four Gospels give an account of this miracle. We need to learn the lessons of this miracle.

Consider the permanent values in this miracle —

1. Christ is able to feed us — vv. 19-20. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The people needed physical food. They were plain hungry. Jesus tells the disciples to give the people something to eat. In a world where one-third of the people suffer malnutrition, Jesus has a message to those able to share their food. Jesus is concerned about the physical welfare of people as well as with their souls.

There is no dodging this issue by spiritualizing this account to say it refers to the Lord’s Supper, or to see Jesus as the second Moses, or to see the feeding of the crowd as a picture of an eschatological banquet. This miracle is to be taken as a concrete, factual situation - of real physical hunger which Christians have a responsibility to alleviate.

There is truly a spiritual dement ion to what you do. In our weekly prayers – from Easter to Thanksgiving – from planting to growth to harvest – we include petitions for farmers. We ask the Lord to help us to see that by this noble vocation you are feeding the world. That’s what you do. It is a holy work. Is it challenging – of course it is. Is it tiresome, frustrating, and rewarding? Yes, to all of these. But it is a work that is both important and necessary. That is why conclude our petition with the request “and cause all people who give thanks over their food to treat those who produce it with honor and respect.”

Transition: Not only is Jesus able to feed us> He is filled with compassion. He is willing to feed us.

2. Christ is willing to feed us. He has compassion. — Vs. 14 - When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Here is the heartbeat of the miracle. It is a greater factor than the power to bring food for 5,000 out of five loaves of bread. Because of His love for the hurting and the hungry, Jesus is moved to help and heal.

The people are not in a position to help themselves; it is at the end of the day, they are far from civilization, they are out of supplies. To get food at that time and in that place demanded a miracle. The disciples had no other options. Divine intervention was necessary. This account teaches that Jesus is not only able but willing to help. Contrast this with many contemporary instances when people in trouble are ignored when they cry for help.

It is so easy for so many to simply ignore those who truly are in need. For us to see the need would require us to respond. That’s why it’s so easy to look past those who are in need. It’s much easier to simply respond, “I’ve got mine…I’ve paid my dues…let them fend for themselves.”

What happens when you find yourself truly in need? What happens when your fervent prayers appear to go unanswered? What happens when all seems lost? This miracle proves that Jesus is both willing and able to help in your time of need.

The disciples were out of options. There was nothing they could do. Jesus came to their rescue for only He can save. Jesus came to prove that He is serious about dealing with your circumstance. This miracle was written for your – to assure you that He is the only one capable to save and serve.

Transition: Jesus is both willing and able to set the table for He is in charge. He is in control.

3. Christ is in control — v. 18. Bring them here to me, he said. The power of the miracle is Christ. The 5,000 are fed with five loaves. He asks that the loaves and fish be brought to Him. He takes the food, gives thanks and breaks the bread until all are fed. The tremendous truth in this act is that man is so little and Christ can do such great things. This reminds us also that a common meal in the home or out in a field can be a sacramental act of love when the bread is blessed and shared.

It only took a little. Jesus took five loaves and a few fish and fed a crowd. The food kept coming until the people were satisfied. Such power was demonstrated of Him who spoke this world into existence.

Such power was demonstrated when He entered time and space to be your redeemer. Such power was demonstrated when He hung on a cross bearing your sin. Such power was demonstrated when on the third day He broke from the tomb and destroyed the powers of death and hell forever.

Transition: Jesus has such powers given Him by our heavenly Father. And the blessings are enormous.

4. Christ provides abundantly — v. 20. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The people were satisfied with the quality and the quantity of food. They were filled with food. In fact, they could not eat it all — twelve baskets were filled with leftovers. Here we see the generosity and abundance of God’s provision of our needs. God gives us more than we ask for, more than we need. God does exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think.

Take an inventory of your life. Can you count all of the blessings? They are too numerous to count. He provides more then we could ask or think so that we can know without any hesitation that His provisions are abundant. More then we could ever imagine. More then we could ever hope for. More then we could dream of having. This miracle teaches a profound truth – you can not out give God!

Conclusion: Luther put it best when he explained to us the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed. What does it mean believe in God– the Father Almighty? What does this mean? Luther explains: I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this - He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him. This is most certainly true.
Soil Deo Gloria
In our prayers this week...
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
10653 N – 550 W
Decatur, IN 46733
A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith
Acts 2:42
Prayers of the People of God at Friedheim
August 3, 2008
Proper 13

Almighty God since You have granted us the favor to call on You with one accord and have promised that where two or three are gathered together in Your name You are in the midst of them, fulfill now the prayers of Your servants, granting us in this world knowledge of Your truth and in the world to come life everlasting.

We remember our members who are celebrating birthdays this week and pray Your blessings upon them Izaak Bobay, Gabrielle Brandt, Emma Buuck, Nick Linnemeier, Hannah Timm, Elfurt Blomenberg, Jacob Conrad, Misty Gehres, Beth Rettig, Carrington Bultemeier, John Nidlinger, Bonnie Buuck, Eldora Fuelling, Roger Manley, and Chad Baumann.

You alone are the Great Physician. Grant health and strength to all who are in need of the touch of Your healing hand. We especially remember this day –Karen Johnson, Kelly Baumann, and Troy Sinar.

We would ask that You guide and direct all who serve and protect; Police, Fire, and Rescue workers; first responders, border patrol agents, and all who serve their neighbor.

We remember those who are serving in the armed forces of our country—Josh, Zach, and Jacob Stoppenhagen, Steven Banks, who are serving in Iraq, Jason Putteet who is in South Korea, Randy McAllister who is serving in Germany. Direct also we pray; Mike Brandt, Brian Moeller, Danny Cross, Cam Koldyke, Cody Kiess, Josh Colwell, Brian Journay, Lydia Reynolds, James Johnson, and Chad Hall. Lord, protect and guide them in their missions.

Visit, we implore You, O Lord, the homes in which Your people dwell. Keep far from them all harm and danger. Grant us to dwell together in peace under the protection of Your holy angels and may Your blessing be with us forever.

O God of grace and glory we remember before you our sisters in Christ Donna Schieferstein and Dorothy Selking. We thank You for giving them to us to know and to love as companions during our pilgrimage on this earth. In Your boundless compassion consol all who grieve their passing. Give them your aid that they may see in death the gate which leads to eternal life. And may we continue our course on earth in confidence until by Your calling we are united with those who have gone before us.

Keep the members of St. John’s Bingen and our brothers and sisters at Zion Lutheran in Decatur in Your safe keeping as they search for ministers to serve their congregation. We pray the Spirit’s aid at St. John as they assemble to call a Pastor next Sunday and Zion who has extended a call to Barry Keurulainen as Sr. Pastor. As we rejoice in the 170 years of ministry within our Friedheim family we pray that we may continue to be a haven of peace and a harbor of hope in this world.

Heavenly Father continue to guide all parishes of our Synod who are in the pursuit of pastoral care especially do we commit to Your care Jeffrey Keuning who patiently waits for a call to come. We rejoice with Pastor – elect John Wurst who will be installed as Pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church Duluth, MN as well as Pr. Tomas Olson who celebrates 25 years in the ministry this day.

Almighty God, You blessed the earth to make it fruitful, bringing forth in abundance whatever is needed for the support of our lives. Prosper; we implore You, the work of farmers, especially in this growing season. Grant them seasonable weather that they may gather in the fruits of the earth and thus proclaim Your goodness. May we see by this noble vocation that by Your aid we are helping to feed the world and cause all who give thanks over their food to treat those who produce it with honor and respect.

We come to Your table at Your gracious invitation to eat your Holy body and blood in the blessed Sacrament. Bless our participation that we may depart from Your presence in peace and joy knowing we are reconciled to the Father and also to each other. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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