Prelude: It Is Well With My Soul https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhaTIu_k4w0
Blessed be the holy Trinity, +one God, whose steadfast love is everlasting, whose faithfulness endures from generation to generation. Amen
Confession and Forgiveness:
Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God, whose steadfast love is everlasting, whose faithfulness endures from generation to generation. Amen.
Trusting in the mercy of God, let us confess our sin.
Reconciling God, we confess that we do not trust your abundance, and we deny your presence in our lives. We place our hope in ourselves and rely on our own efforts. We fail to believe that you provide enough for all. We abuse your good creation for our own benefit. We fear difference and do not welcome others as you have welcomed us. We sin in thought, word, and deed. By your grace, forgive us; through your love, renew us; and in your Spirit, lead us; so that we may live and serve you in newness of life. Amen.
Absolution: Beloved of God, by the radical abundance of divine mercy we have peace with God through ☩ Christ Jesus, through whom we have obtained grace upon grace. Our sins are forgiven. Let us live now in hope. For hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Amen
Gathering Hymn: ELW 689 Praise and Thanksgiving https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOCYs1qd5Jk
Greetings: The grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. And also with you.
Have mercy on us, Lord, and hear our solemn prayer. We come to hear your living word; it saves us from despair.
Have mercy on us, Christ, and wash away our sin. Pour out your grace and make us whole that new life may begin.
Have mercy on us, Lord, make sun and shame depart. Renew us with your saving pow’r, create in us new hearts!
Prayer of the Day: Glorious God, your generosity waters the world with goodness, and you cover creation with abundance. Awaken in us a hunger for the food that satisfies both body and spirit, and with this food fill all the starving world; through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Selection of the Faithful: ELW 856 How Great Thou Art https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GKhDCsLrUg
HEARING GOD’S WORD
First Reading: Isaiah 55:1-5
1Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3Incline your ear, and come to me;
listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
4See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
5See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.
Psalm: Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21
8The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9Lord, you are good to all,
and your compassion is over all your works.
14The Lord upholds all those who fall
and lifts up those who are bowed down.
15The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord,
and you give them their food in due season.
16You open wide your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17You are righteous in all your ways
and loving in all your works.
18You are near to all who call upon you,
to all who call upon you faithfully.
19You fulfill the desire of those who fear you;
you hear their cry and save them.
20You watch over all those who love you,
but all the wicked you shall destroy.
21My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord;
let all flesh bless God’s holy name forever and ever.
Second Reading: Romans 9:1-5
1I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit—2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. 4They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; 5to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
Alleluia. One does not live by bread alone,* but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Alleluia. (Matt. 4:4)
Gospel: Matthew 14:13-21
13Now when Jesus heard [about the beheading of John the Baptist], he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. 15When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” 18And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. 21And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Children’s Sermon: Exodus 16 reports that a month and 15 days after the miraculous delivery from Egypt, after the 10 plagues, after crossing the Red Sea, the people do what? They grumble. (We can do that with our masks on…let’s hear.) What is the problem? They are remembering the wonderfulness of Egypt, full stomachs. God hears their grumbling at Moses and sends quail that evening and the next morning when the dew lifted the ground was covered with, “What is it?” It was a kind of bread from God that they called “manna,” what is it. Meat and bread. What is this stuff?
Our text today also tells us about another miracle of meat and bread.
Jesus heard (pause), the people heard (pause), and we hear (pause), what? Jesus heard that John the Baptist, his cousin, was beheaded because Herod feared the people. If he did not keep his promise to his seductive step-daughter who danced for him he would loose face. Herod ordered the head of John the Baptist be brought on a silver platter. Gross. Unjust. Unfair. It is an epitome of political power corrupted. Jesus heard and called down the armies of heaven to establish a just society – NO! He didn’t. He withdrew in a boat to the wilderness – to grieve perhaps. Meanwhile the average person, victim of the political injustices of the day heard the gossip that Jesus was on the move and they followed Jesus. They had problems the system could not help. They did not run to the hospital to see the doctor for their cure. They did not run to the governor, Herod, for he was obviously unjust. They followed Jesus for they had no other hope. We hear the news of our world, of our doctors, of our economists, or our environmentalists and where do we run? That is certainly a question raised by our text today as we ponder the difference Christ makes in our lives today. Where do we run when we hear distressing news?
Faced with unsettling news Jesus withdraws perhaps in grief, perhaps in anger, perhaps in frustration but he does not withdraw into isolation. He sees the people and has compassion. Did we hear that? When we feel like God has withdrawn his presence from us what do we think? I suspect we often take his silence as judgment or disapproval. Many times God seems cloaked, out on the sea of life in a boat dealing with the really important issues of life like famines, politics of the Middle East, or busy making decisions about who will live through Covid. We doubt that God can be concerned about our little concerns. This passage reminds us that God sees, God has compassion on us, and God cares.
We hear….we fear….but God sees, God cares, and God is the hope for the hopeless.
Secondly I note from this passage that it became late, time was gone. They were in a desolate place, far away from help. There were no resources even for basic human needs like eating. “What should we do?” cry the disciples.
We live in a time when the cry goes up – resources are limited. We worry if there are enough respirators. We worry if there is enough money for a second stimulus check. Perhaps we should cut down on postal service? Maybe we just make it so everyone mails in their ballot in November elections? Wait, can the conventions vote electronically? Will oil last or do we all buy hybrids? Our resources are challenged and it is possible to pull our hair out in concern. I wish I could promise you that faith means no Covid, no pain, no problems will come to you, but I cannot. Faith is not a substitute for the problems of life. Faith means we believe God walks through the problems, running interference, holding our hand, caring.
Jesus tells the people to “sit,” calm down!. He takes the two fish and five loaves. He looks to heaven. He blesses, and makes do. Jesus meets the people and the disciples at their point of need with the resources at hand. I wish I could say that faith means all our problems are resolved to happy-ever-after but it does not always happen that way. We know. Divorces happen and families are split with terrible scars. Bankruptcy may have to be walked through. The doctor’s scalpel is the answer to disease. And yes, people die. But perhaps the kernel of truth in this part of the passage is that Jesus does not send the people away because he is too busy. He helps them deal with their challenge and blesses.
What should we do? Turn to Jesus.
Thirdly, we are challenged to check if we have an attitude of gratitude. I suppose not everyone would be so happy about a meal of bread and fish with no tarter sauce or mayo, shared by some unknown kid, and handled by a bunch of uneducated fishmen turned disciple. Like the people of Israel, we might grumble and ask, what is it?, surely God could do better than this? We live such an entitled lives in the USA where choice is part of our way of life. We go to a buffet and choose our items. Even deciding what to eat at Mc D’s is a challenge of choice. Often we have the right to get a second medical opinion on any procedure.
Jesus looked up to heaven, blessed and broke. I wonder what that moment was like. Was Jesus just putting on a show of prayer or was he seeking guidance? Did baskets of bread and fish just suddenly appear? Or did the example encourage others to dig into their knapsacks and share as some suggest? Or would I have been so anxious about getting my fair share that I was preoccupied and did not even see the multiplication going on? What exactly happened we are not told. Perhaps people were too busy getting their fair share or helping others get their fair share that no one could explain what happened.
Miracles are like that. Something happens and life changes. The phone call comes at that moment of despair and rescues us and reminds us we are loved. We open the Bible and our eyes fall on a verse that exactly answers our heart. Jesus spits and makes mud, puts it on a man’s eyes and he goes and washes.. Vwalaa –vision. How did that happen? How did Lazarus walk out of the tomb, bound in wraps? God works in ways beyond our ability to predict and often beyond our ability to explain. Our choice is to respond with an attitude of gratitude or to grumble, what is it?
Summary: We believe in a God who grieves at injustice, at political corruption, and walks with us, perhaps in silence. His response to our dilemnas – compassion.
We believe in a God who is there when we are at the end of our rope when our resources are just not enough. He cares when we have no solution. He can use the two fish and five loaves, what is available in our life situation
We pray for an attitude of gratitude for the unexplainable ways God works in our lives. Lord help us to sit. Open our eyes to see the ways you are working in our lives. Lord, we long to be filled by your presence and your love and your care. Help us not to grumble.
Hymn of Day: ELW 674 Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYnF86ZzHH8&t=1s
The Apostle’s Creed:
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Or you can listen to the Creed in vocal form: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuDI-sk2nJU
Prayers of Intercession
Confident of your care and helped by the Holy Spirit, we pray for the church, the world, and all who are in need.
You take resources that appear to be meager, bless them, and there is enough. May your church trust that what you bless and ask us to share with the world is abundantly sufficient. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Your bountiful creation offers sustenance and life for all creatures. Protect this abundance for the well-being of all. Reverse the damage we have caused your creation. Replenish ground water supplies, provide needed rains in places of drought, and protect forests from wildfires. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
You offer yourself to all the nations and peoples of the earth, inviting everyone to abundant life. Bring the prophetic vision to fullness, that all nations will run to you and that nations who do not know you will find their joy in you. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. Hear the anguish of tender hearts who cry to you in suffering and satisfy their deepest needs. Bring wholeness and healing to those who suffer in body, heart, soul, and mind. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
You offer freely the fullness of salvation. Give our congregation such a welcoming heart, that our words and actions may extend your free and abundant hospitality to all whom we encounter. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
You gather your saints as one, united in the body of Jesus. Bring us with all your saints to the heavenly banquet. We remember with love and thanksgiving the saints we have known. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
In the certain hope that nothing can separate us from your love, we offer these prayers to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Peace: If you are worship with someone else, turn and share, “The peace of Christ be with you always.” Response, “And also with you.” You might use your finger to mark you children or loved one with a cross on their forehead. If you are practicing social distancing, put your palms together blessing of them. Peace!
SHARING GOD’S MEAL
Offering Prayer: God of goodness and growth, all creation is yours, and your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens. Water and word, wine and bread: these are signs of your abundant grace. Nourish us through these gifts, that we might proclaim your steadfast love in our communities and in the world, through Jesus Christ, our strength and our song. Amen.
The Great Thanksgiving:
The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. We left them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give our thanks and praise.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come. thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Communion: I invite you to talk a little piece of bread and eat it. Christ is as close to you as the bread in your mouth and stomach. Always remember. Now take a sip of your drink. Christ is as close to you as the blood in your body, strengthening you. Always remember.
Prayer after Communion: God of the welcome table, in this meal we have feasted on your goodness and have been united by your presence among us. Empower us to go forth sustained by these gifts so that we may share your neighborly love with all, through Jesus Christ, the giver of abundant life. Amen.
Blessing: Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. God, the creator, ☩ Jesus, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit, the comforter, bless you and keep you in eternal love. Amen.
Sending Hymn: ELW 843 Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCZoCBQIXFw
Dismissal: Go in peace. Christ is with you. Thanks be to God.