I love a "feel good" story. You know the kind -- someone does something for someone else not expecting anything in return and all sorts of blessings come into 2 lives. It's probably one of my favorite clickbaits on Facebook.
Sunday's Gospel is such a clickbait story. Jesus took what he had available to him (5 loaves and 2 fish) and made a banquet of overflowing proportions of it for over 5,000 people. How do we put 5,000 in perspective? Kinnick? No, that's over 70,000. Carver Hawkeye? Around 15,000. Xtream Arena? Yes, about that size. We see how big that is and the amplification that is necessary to speak to a group there. Now imagine Jesus preaching to a crowd in a space like that or more likely over a larger area since I doubt they were packed in like sardines as we do for sporting events. We get the impression that the people were hanging on every word. They followed him; they let time pass and their stomachs growl away to hear this speaker in the wilderness.
The realists (disciples) panicked and urged him to send them away. Jesus had a cheeky answer (as far as I'm concerned), "You feed them." Something is afoot when Jesus challenges you. You know the rest of the story.
Jesus still speaks to us. He told our bishop, "Feed my lambs." So Amy Current and Lorna Halaas (Western Iowa Synod) and Kevin Jones (Northeastern Iowa Synod) put their heads together and raised money for hunger programs across the state with the Bishops' Ride for Hunger during RAGBRAI. Holy Trinity Visioning Council gave $100 and members of the congregation have given another $190 through the congregation toward the Bishop Ride. No final numbers have been announced yet, but we can expect the Holy Spirit has been working across the state.
To preach in the wilderness, I would imagine you need a stentorian voice. But remember that God spoke to Elijah in a still, small voice. How is God speaking to you? As the hymn says, "Listen God is calling, through the Word inviting, offering forgiveness, comfort, and joy." And like Samuel, may you be able to respond, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening."
Click. Another great story to read!