Sermon Starter: Serving in Sorrow
Scriptures for July 31
Genesis 32:22-31; Psalm 17:1-7, 15; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:13-21
While dealing with the death of John, Jesus withdraws to a solitary place. Even there he is followed by crowds of people who want his touch. Rather than focusing on his loss he chooses to deal with the needs of those who come to him for healing.
We could read no further than this and help our listeners deal with the healing that comes to us when we continue to help others in spite of our personal loss. Finding the resources to bring comfort even in a time of loss is a great help to the bereaved.
After a day of teaching and healing the disciples are ready for church to end. They instruct the teacher to send the crowds away to buy food. Jesus is concerned about their physical needs and offers the disciples an opportunity to be of service.
When confronted with their meager resources Jesus instructs the people to sit in rows. He takes the loaves and fishes and gives thanks. This scripture is a potential communion text. God is with us in the sacrament.
The disciples received the bread and fish from Christ and they distributed it among the crowd. There was enough food for everyone with 12 baskets left over.
God’s grace is always more than sufficient for our needs. When we feel inadequate to do the work of the church we are reminded that he is with us and he’s responsible for the results. We distribute the Sacrament and the story of faith to a needy world.
My favorite text in this passage is Chapter 14, verse 16. We are called by Christ to take our resources and let him multiply them. In a small way we are helping to bring in the kingdom of God. It is a privilege to be instructed by our Lord: to give them something to eat.