Sunday, July 22, 2012
It's Left Over Time
To hear the entire sermon preached for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity at Trinity, Layton, "It's Left Over Time"--beginning with the Old Testament Reading and concluding with the Prayer of the Church, click on the following MP3 audio link. “It's Left Over Time"
If you would rather just read the sermon, or read along as you listen, the preaching outline/manuscript follows below. However, please understand some transitions are filled in and bullet points fleshed out from the pulpit that are not included in the ms.
his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” 5And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” 6And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. 7And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. 8And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. 9And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away.
Dear Creatures of God,
I don’t know about you, but I have to wonder what they did with those leftovers.
Oh, boy! It’s leftover time.
When is the last time you paused to consider The Miracle of Daily Bread? Have you ever?
I would suggest that in order to impress this upon your own sinful hardened heart, clouded reason, and misdirected desires pray this prayer of David before your family meal as we find presented to us by Dr. Martin Luther in the Small Catechism [Read LSB p. 327 with the Explanation to the 4th Petition in place of the entire Lord’s Prayer].
As you have just confessed together here, in THE FOURTH PETITION of the Lord’s Prayer we beseech our Lord: Give us this day our daily bread.
LARGE CATECHISM EXPLANATION
72 Here, now, we consider the poor breadbasket, the necessities of our body and of the temporal life. It is a brief and simple word, but it has a very wide scope. For when you mention and pray for daily bread, you pray for everything that is necessary in order to have and enjoy daily bread. On the other hand, you also pray against everything that interferes with it. Therefore, you must open wide and extend your thoughts not only to the oven or the flour bin, but also to the distant field and the entire land, which bears and brings to us daily bread and every sort of nourishment. For if God did not cause food to grow and He did not bless and preserve it in the field, we could never take bread from the oven or have any to set upon the table.
Furthermore, do you think God the Father created you, delivered you into this world, had His only begotten Son suffer and die for you, and has born you into the kingdom of heaven by Holy Baptism would then be negligent in seeing to your ongoing needs of body and soul?
"The earth would have to run out of bread or the heavens would have to run out of rain before a Christian would die of starvation.; indeed, God Himself would have to starve to death first." Luther's Works, Vol. 21, p. 207 on Matthew 6:33
Scripture is full of examples of how the Lord takes care of the bodily needs of those who look to and abide with Him as they hear His Word. Today we have two such examples set before us—Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and a great crowd of 4000+ who had followed Jesus on a three day journey and had virtually run out of food as they were gathered in that “desolate place.”
And so we pray and sing with David: The eyes of all look to You, [O Lord,] and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. If only every living thing would let Him! That is His desire—to satisfy your desires.
Eden was a garden of food—with only one tree off limits. 8And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. . . . 15The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Of course that was the one that the devil used to attract Adam and Eve and lead them into sin.
Surrounded by luscious life giving food—not to mention having 24-7 in-the-flesh access to the One who created that food and them—our first father and mother listened to a deceiver and decided they just had to have something else. And ever since Adam and Eve and their children down through the ages and still in these Latter Days have been making bad, that is to say evil and deadly decisions based upon the fact that they get caught up in lies and are never satisfied.
It is into this very world of dissatisfied children that our Lord steps once again in our Gospel lesson.
The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:15-19
So, the same God who walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden has been walking and talking amongst the crowd gathered around Him for three days.
He has been feeding them the Bread of Life—the very words that proceed from the mouth of God to identify the lies that they have been following, call them to repent of their sinful dissatisfaction, forgive them their sin, and deliver them from the lies to the truth that gives real satisfaction and everlasting life in the kingdom of heaven.
The same Lord from whom Adam and Eve fled, thus bringing a curse upon the earth that causes us to this day to labor for our daily bread and suffer and die from the very things we eat and put into our bodies, this same Lord once rejected in the Garden of Eden and who will once again be rejected in the Garden of Gethsemane and put to death on a cross has compassion on those who have been listening to His preaching the kingdom of heaven and feeds them earthly food as well.
He takes from the meager supply left among the thousands—seven loaves of bread and a few fish—and feeds them all so that would not feint from hunger on their long journeys home.
Now certainly this a great and wondrous miracle that our Lord performs and a great display of His compassion for the children of God. But how He does it is also important and instructive for us today. “He directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them.”
The Lord gathers the people and has them rest. He takes of the dwindling supply the people have brought with them and multiplies that supply because He is the one from whom those loaves and fish came in the first place and with the Son of God comes an endless supply of all that is truly needful for both body and soul.
But Jesus doesn’t just take the fish and loaves and cause them to fall out of the sky into the people’s mouths, or to appear out of nowhere before the people, or transport them telekinetically through the air into their laps. No, he takes the loaves and fishes and breaks them into pieces and gives them to “to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they ate and were satisfied.“
Dear children of God, that is still how our Lord works today. It is why you are here, why our Lord has gathered you in this “desolate place” today. It is why He continues to gather people around His Word and Sacraments in otherwise “desolate places” all over the world--to feed you with His Bread of Life that sustains you for eternal life. And He does it through servants into whose hands He has placed the pieces He Himself breaks off to feed to you.
In the hands of our Lord is an endless supply of all that you need—and more! And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away.
He sent them away to go back to their homes and their families and their neighbors and their daily work to tell others of the wonderful things He had done--to establish churches where God’s ministers preach the Word among them for eternal life, and to serve their neighbors (that begins with the closest of neighbors, aka family members) that they also might have the food and other necessities of life here in this world and for the world to come.
Deer creatures of God, what you see in our Gospel text today is Christ’s restoration of what was lost in Eden—at least the beginning of that restoration and “foretaste of the Feast to come.” And our Lord gives you an even greater and more miraculous taste of that restoration and “foretaste of the Feast to come” as often as you come to the table of the Lord in His house, He has more than enough to feed you and send you away back to your daily life to serve your neighbor--just as He has for thousands of years and billions of people. So come often to eat and be satisfied. Our Lord always has enough grace and mercy to forgive the sins of those He has brought to repentance. He always has enough water to pour over another sinner’s head to baptize them into the kingdom of God. He always has enough bread and wine to feed you His very own body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. For from the beginning of creation God has established that there will always be daily bread for all of His creatures—especially you whom He has created and redeemed to be in His image—with plenty of leftovers for every generation to come, even unto the Last Day and life everlasting— in the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.