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August 2, 2020

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Our eyes and minds tend to gravitate towards the big things in life.

  • Viral videos, popular social media, “clickbait,” it all works to tantalize us.
  • In our gospel reading, our minds go to the miracle of the loaves and fishes. It’s a big deal. It’s magical.
  • But it isn’t the only miracle here.
  • The miracle of retreat
    • In the beginning of the passage, we’re left with the end of a thought “now when Jesus heard this"
    • “This” is the beheading of John the Baptist.
      • It was a move of cowardice
      • It was a craven move of power.
      • It was done to a family member of Jesus.
    • Jesus recognized the need to retreat. To walk away for a minute, and to be in the wilderness, which is often a cue for the thin spaces where God meets God’s beloved.
    • We as humans are not built for the type of world often demanded of us. To be viral, “clickbait” people ourselves. To be tantalizing. To be the one with the longest hours worked, most engaged, most aware. When we world showed Jesus its evil, Jesus retreated to meet God.
  • The miracle of compassion
    • But, Jesus doesn’t remain there, even when he has the opportunity to do so.
    • He could have taken the disciples lead and sent the people away.
    • But it was the deep compassion - a body rending compassion - that brought Jesus to care for the people.
    • Our ability to feel deeply - nearly painfully - for others leads to care even beyond our tired bodies.
  • The miracle of abundance
    • The loafs and fishes are better read through the lens of Isa
    • It reminds us that there is so much we’re apt to do that doesn’t lead to miracle, doesn’t lead to abundance.
    • Why do we need to seek the big thing? The magical thing? Why do we need to be the heroes or the strong ones? Why do we give into those temptations? It may be because we think there is abundance there. But Isa reminds us that’s not the source is perhaps the one thing that isn’t all that exciting - listening to God. Perhaps in the quiet and emptiness of the wilderness.
  • Our own miracles
    • The best part of all of this is that most of these miracles are not supernatural. They are what we can do here and now.
      • To be willing to hear the brokenness of this world and seek God’s counsel, but not to turn away from those who are hungry for a cure. That is a miracle of Jesus Christ you can do.
      • To be willing to pour ourselves out when we’ve been in the wilderness to those some people who are hungry. That is a miracle of Jesus Christ.
      • To discover the abundance of Christ not in what costs us, but in what is free, and what multiplies. That is a miracle of Jesus Christ.
      • But it’s also in you. Yeah, you can’t make magic loaves and fishes, but you CAN be a miracle worker.

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