Sermon for October 9, 2022              Thanksgiving               “Leftovers”

I am the bread of life is a bold statement. It is also one that is true and supported by action. Recall the feeding of the 5000 and also remember that number only included men. So in fact the number fed was much larger. There’s something about everything that Jesus said and did that needs to be seen as part of a greater whole.

The disciples were constantly being stretched to see beyond the obvious and we are challenged to look beyond the words to also wonder about context; then and now.

“There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” —John 6:9 In a world where might is right, Jesus reminds us that the values of the kingdom are the exact opposite. God’s way is for David to defeat Goliath, for faith the size of a mustard seed being enough, of his kingdom acting like yeast in the dough, of the least of this world having God’s favour. And yes, a young boy with five loaves of bread and two fish is enough, more than enough as evidenced by leftovers.

What situations overwhelm or paralyze you because the issue seems so big and your input so small? When has a small act of kindness or generosity made a difference to you? What have you done for others lately? What could you do this week? Catherine of Sienna wrote, “Become the person you were created to be and set the world on fire.” We don’t have to be like anyone else, not powerful, not well-known—we just have to be authentically who we were intended to be. How can you fulfill this calling and make a difference to others? There is only one of you…make you count.

“‘Gather the leftovers,’ Jesus told his disciples, ‘so that nothing is wasted.’” God is a generous God. He doesn’t keep a tally of what we deserve, he wants to do so much more than we can ever ask or imagine and just as his word never returns to him empty, nothing goes to waste in our lives. But just like in the parable of the talents, God asks us to make good use of what we have been given.

Whether it is opportunities, abilities, or wealth, God calls us to live with faithful generosity, looking beyond our own needs to the needs of others. What opportunities, abilities or resources have you been given? How are you using what you have been given to further the kingdom of God?

“The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” —Bread broken and given to others is so much more than a matter of lunch! Jesus makes the link at last with love sacrifice—his own—for the sake of the world. Jesus fed a crowd and was nailed to a cross. It’s all about giving. In him alone can we find true fulfillment and in following him we also must take up the cross and deny self—we become the bread broken and shared for others.

Rob Bell, former pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church, said, “We need to ask, ‘What is God doing and how can I be part of it?’” When we pray for those who are needy or struggling, we have to believe that God wants to be at work in their lives, to bring something good out of it—to offer bread…. What might it mean for you to break bread for others?

All these questions we get to ponder as we loosen our belt and wonder why I didn’t wear the expandable clothes. Or in a comic Facebook post ‘it’s time to set your scales back ten pounds or 4.53kg)” You personally spend time figuring out how you respond to the love of Jesus demonstrated in extravagant abundance and nourishment for our soul, pressed down and overflowing onto our laps and into our hearts. It is also a question for St. Marks as we discern our community, our abundance and the will and mission of Jesus as we look beyond the obvious into the need and be the best we can be right now for the unfolding of the realm of God.