Lamenting Scarcity, God’s Ability

Grace and Peace to you

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ

As we attend to the emptiness within ourselves

How can we ignore the emptiness that gnaws in others?

Those who are crying out for sustenance

Because we are all invited to the Table

From the One who Fills us with Grace, Mercy and Love

Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Lord

Amen.

(pause)

Hunger is an ugliness that permeates our society

We are inundated with pleas from those who dangle precariously

In the middle of our streets

Men who have served their country

And now are begging for their country to serve them

Worn out because of lack of quality of life

We are overwhelmed with mothers who walk a tight line

Between humility and shamefulness

Clinging desperately to their responsibility

Of feeding those close to them, any way possible

Worn out because of lack of quality of life

(pause)

Hunger is the ugly sin

that chafes at the delicate skin of humanity

Humanity rushes past those who follow us into grocery stores

Into places of abundance

Who are only hoping to cure the pains of hunger

For maybe just one day

Meanwhile humanity endlessly grumbles about rising costs

Hiding fears of not having enough to satisfy themselves

Pushing down deep the ghosts of starvation past

That lingers in their subconscious

Lamenting that they cannot help anyone else beyond their reach

Oblivious to the realization when hunger is soothed

It soothes the abysmal feeling of loneliness and being unwanted

Soothes also the distress of rejection and neglect

This crisis of feeding and comforting the hungry rises to a boiling point

We can no longer overlook its lingering presence

(pause)

But what about another different hunger

That regardless of how well off

Or well connected

Or contented we are as people

This hunger continually eats away at ourselves

Until starving, we search in desperation for anything

To fill our souls?

(pause)

This Hunger for compassion,

for recognition,

for deliverance

Without question brings us to our knees

when this world robs us of the essentials of living

This hunger strips us of our ego, our worries, our individuality

Where we unabashedly claim what is offered at the Table

(pause)

I encountered a young man this week

Stripped of the ability to communicate clearly

Stripped of being able-bodied or being seen as fully human

But wanting to come before the feet

of the One Who Fills us with Good News

Wanting to be filled with forgiveness and mercy

Wanting too, to dine at the Table healed and made whole

He hungers for real fulfillment

And his hunger, beloved

Is something that we as people of God

Have actually the ability to FILL HIS HUNGER UP

(pause)

What can we offer in our baskets

To those wandering into this place

That saturates their hunger

Replacing the ill

Empty

Junk food of the world

Yet we seem time again to focus in on the scarcity in our baskets

That it simply cannot be enough

“Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?

Or cannot make an impact

“But what are they among so many people?” 

Or make any difference?

(pause)

Can we be bold enough

To confess that we too have experienced

Hunger

Just as these crowds

Who continued to follow Jesus Christ around

In our Gospel text.

(pause)

They heard the rumors

The reports

And came running to hear this Rabbi

This Prophet

This Son of God

Who had the power to relieve them of their troublesome hunger.

(pause)

Many were hungry

They were the poor

The outcasts

The Lower caste

They did not have enough in their coffers

To stroll in the marketplaces

And freely without a second thought

Buy riches in meat and fish

That these people, the working class

Rarely had the opportunity to reap the benefits of their hard labor

(pause)

Having the luxury of eating every day of a week

Was either cause for celebration

Or because of a celebration

(pause)

But that is not what drove them

To sit at Jesus’s feet

They were hungry

They were thirsty

They were TIRED of this scarcity existence

Of being ridiculed for who they were

Because they stubbornly survived

On the Love of God that they had known

And CLUNG TO

That they refused to consume

what the Occupiers were forcibly feeding them

To assimilate into their doctrines and their laws

To forget their history and these divine commandments handed down

To turn their back on their sisters and brothers

Leaving them to flounder

Leaving them to waste away

Until their weakness drove them,

Just as it drives us sometimes

To accept spiritual placebos

That satisfies a temporary need

But cannot cure the deprivation of emptiness

That vibrates deep within those places we are hurting

Reminding us painfully

We need to be fed and made whole

(pause)

Inviting people into our homes

Sharing food among ourselves

as brothers and sisters in Christ

Is a sign of welcome, of friendship

Inviting people into this place

Sharing of ourselves

Sharing the Grace and Love that comes from God

Is a sign of commitment to the fellowship, the relationship

That flows through us through God

Because of God

And that is the Good News!

Because Jesus Himself

“took the loaves,

and when He had given thanks,

He distributed them to those who were seated”

The Good News is

Jesus Christ offered up of Himself

Offers Up of Himself to us, beloved

His Body

Jesus is the Visible Sign

Of Forgiveness

Of Love

Of the Saving Grace

Regardless of whether we have more than enough

Or can’t offer anything

(pause)

And when we are fretful about what isn’t in our baskets

And we can’t feed or satisfy the thirst in others

Or when our baskets are empty

Because our very own beings are bone dry

Because this world has robbed us of our nourishment

So that we offer of ourselves, through comfort

Through prayer

Through faith

The Good News is that THERE IS MORE THAN ENOUGH

There is more than enough of the Risen Christ

To fill us up

And our neighbors

And those living in assisted living

And those living in places of desperation

And those who are hungry

And all of us

The Good News of Jesus Christ is that there is more than enough

More of God’s Mercy and Grace

To quench our longing for acceptance

Because God Loves Us so much

His Son Shared of Himself

At God’s Table.

(pause and give testimony about encountering a woman working in the local gas station who, upon seeing my clerical collar asked me to pray for herself, her sister and her niece. That sometimes we don’t always know who and where they are along this spiritual journey but if we see people hungering, to reach out and pray and invite them to the Table, where all are fed.)

Thanks Be To God.

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