Let us pray. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable unto you O Lord our rock and our redeemer. Amen.
As I was writing this sermon, I kept thinking about one thing. That this passage is one of the more challenging to preach on, not because of what words are written right in front of us, but rather because we have heard this passage before. Not only have we heard it before, but for many of us it is so common that we rarely hear the abundance, the shock, the surprise, and the grace in this passage. That is what makes it difficult. We already think we know everything there is to know about this passage and so when we hear this passage, it no longer is fresh and life or world changing but rather just sort of there. Something that we do not think about too often, because we think we know all it has to say. And if we do not see the word of God as the living Word of God or think that it might have something to say to us, then of course this passage would have nothing to say to us.
And I started to think about this passage in this way, that it has become so second nature to us, that we fail to see it for what it is, and how much more so we also do the same with the blessings we have been given in our lives. How often we ignore the work of God in our lives and in the world around us. Often we are too busy comparing ourselves to what others have or what we think we should have that we do not recognize the blessings in front of us. We don’t recognize the life changing power of God in our lives and the unexpected ways in which God continues to work in our lives and in our world. We get too caught up in focused on what does not work that we don’t see what is working and what blessings we do have in our lives.
And so when we hear passages like this, and we hear that Jesus feed 5000 people with only a few pieces of bread and fish, the surprise and change of what has happened doesn’t change us. But that is exactly what this story, this experience did for those who were in the crowd and the disciples of Christ. It changed them. It opened their eyes to seeing the work of God in unexpected ways. And not only did it change those who were gathered there, but it also sent them out. Notice, what Jesus tells the disciples when the disciples tell Jesus to feed the crowds, he tells them to go and feed them.
Jesus commands the disciples to take what they have and do something with it. To see the blessings that they have and share them, For the disciples the bread and fish did not seem like it was enough or would be able to do much. Yet, that simple meal fed and meet the needs of the crowds who had gathered. So much so that there was an abundance of food left over.
Too often when we focus on what we don’t have or what we think we should have, we fail to see that what we do have can and is life changing. That no matter how much we have, we are able to bless others. Not only are we are to a blessing to others, but we are called to be a blessing. We are called to go and do something. Jesus blesses us, but we are also invited in to be a blessing to others. So what do we do? Do we hear these words anew and the calling that Jesus has given to us to go and feed, to go and bless others, or do we instead ignore the words of Christ and continue to live as though the blessings of God have somehow missed us?
This Harvest Home we are taking a moment to pause, to truly give thanks to God for what God has given to us, and in return use those blessing to feed our neighbors. It is similar the prayer we pray after the collection of the offering, a prayer that thanks God for the gifts we have received and asks God to use them as a blessing for others. It is why we give of our time, our talents, and resources. It is why we give not because of what it gives to us, but because it is our response to what God has done for us.
So this day as we remember and give thanks for the blessings God has given to us and in response to those blessings give of our abundance to others. And not just this day, but every day. Let us give thanks to our God who abundantly blesses us beyond all comprehension and we in response bless others. Amen

Pastor Katie has served St. Paul Hametown since July 2012. She is a graduate of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg with a Masters of Divinity and a concentration in Theology and Public Life. She is married with three children.

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