Sometimes when writing a sermon, we encounter an Old Testament and New Testament reading that just work well together. In studying through them, it's clear that they have great interplay. Sometimes, especially with Isaiah, we get New Testament texts where Jesus even quotes the Scripture for us! Writing such sermons around such themes are joyful.
On the other hand, sometimes we get texts where there's a good deal of tension between them. Tension is a good thing. Without it, we don't get stirred up enough to act. This Sunday holds two such texts. In one, Matthew 14:13-21, we find Jesus feeding 5,000 people in a desert space. It's a nice, happy text, right? And the other text, Genesis 32:22-31, has Jacob wrestling God beside a river throughout a long and seemingly lonely night. God provides in one, and in the other, God wrestles and throws a hip socket out of place.
But perhaps it's more like this. It's probably clear that Jesus shared the meagre food that he and the disciples brought to that place with people around them. People then aren't far different from you and I: no one travels into the desert without food and water. But likely, it didn't become a real meal until people started sharing with complete strangers. And then, in this massive crowd of thousands imitating what Jesus traveled around Judea doing one table at a time, they got to know one another and discover ways they could work together in the future.
To be so generous as to share and not only that, but to enter into meaningful conversation over food and drink, means that one needs to wrestle with what would keep you from doing that. What keeps us from sharing our resources, or giving generously of time, talent, and treasure? What holds us back and prevents us from giving of ourselves?
In the story of the feeding of 5,000, it's clear that by being generous and not hoarding for oneself generates the truly desired outcome for all: that there is enough!
See you Sunday, and bring a friend.