Sermon for Sunday, September 10, 2017-“God Feeds Us and Feeds Others Through Us”

Rally Sunday – Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 10, 2017
Worship as Celebration: God Feeds Us and the Whole World
Worship Led by Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Youth
Decorah, Iowa
Rev. Amy Zalk Larson

John 6: 1-21

A little boy shared his lunch and Jesus used it to feed thousands. Today, kids, you all are sharing your gifts and God is working in you to feed the rest of us. Throughout the day here at Good Shepherd, so many are sharing their gifts and through them God is feeding all of us.

The hungry, hurting people who had come to see Jesus found themselves part of a huge, festive picnic. They sat down in the green grass. They got to eat bread and fish, “as much as they wanted” we’re told. We hear “They ate until they were satisfied” and there were still baskets and baskets of leftovers. There were abundance, plenty, celebration.

That same thing happens here every Sunday, and especially on this day of feasting and celebration. We come hurting, seeking healing. We come hungry for connection, for hope. We come aware of so many in our world enduring deep hunger and pain. In so many ways, God feeds us and uses what we offer to feed and heal others.

Here in worship, we experience reconciliation, connection, and joy – today especially there is such joy. As we’re gathered and fed by words and a meal, we get a taste of the abundance that God longs for all the world to know. Here, too, we are connected to the needs of the world and called into God’s work of feeding the world. We are asked to share our gifts so that God can use them to care for others. We are sent out to work for healing and hope.

Here we are fed at the Fellowship Hour. We share in the bountiful spread provided by Good Shepherd members who offer their love, their food and their time to feed us. We experience community with people of different ages, backgrounds and viewpoints as members and guests sit at tables together.

Today at Fellowship Hour we’ll also get to reflect on the gifts of Good Shepherd’s buildings and how God uses what is offered here to nourish this congregation and the larger community. The reflection we’ll do is a result of all the gifts offered by the Space Exploration Task Force. This group was charged by the Congregation Council to pay attention to how this space is used to serve God and others. They devoted countless hours and energy developing and implementing a process to do that – a process of asking questions and listening that members and guests will get to learn about and share in during Fellowship Hour. We’ll also hear a bit about the Stewardship for All Seasons process we’ll be launching in October, a process to help us share more of our financial gifts to strengthen the ministry, the building and the work we do together at Good Shepherd in serving God’s world.

Then, tonight, maybe after some afternoon naps, it will be time for the Welcome Friends and Neighbors Picnic. There again, people will share their gifts and God will use what is offered to nourish so many people with good food and community.

Jesus took a little boy’s lunch and used it to feed a multitude. God still does that today.

Today let’s marvel, too, at what God is doing with the gifts offered here by the youth, by so many.

Today, let’s remember all those who are hungry and hurting here and around the world. Right here in Winneshiek County, 2,190 people are considered food insecure – lacking consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. That is over 10% of the population of the county and that number includes 600 children.

God is already using what we offer through the Kids Lunch Club summer feeding program, the Community Food Pantry, and the Community Meal. What more can God do through our gifts?

Today, let’s offer our gifts and ourselves and let’s see what God will do with them.

Thanks be to God.