08/01/2021-10th Sunday after Pentecost
Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15; Psalm 78:23-29; Ephesians 4:16; John 6:24-35
Our lesson from Exodus, “Desert of Sin” (aptly named), and food is running low, water is running low, and the people who six weeks before may have had food and water, but they were slaves and were being worked literally to death. Rumors among the camps was that God had saved them from the Egyptians only to kill them in the desert! Now in the desert the whole community was grumbling saying, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us into this desert to stare this entire assembly to death.” The Lord heard the grumbling and told Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough to eat for that one day. In this way God will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much they gather on the other days.”
So Moses and Aaron said to all, “In the evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because has heard your grumbling. You grumbled at us, but in reality you are grumbling to the Lord Himself! Aaron told the people God had heard the grumbling, that. He told them to look out upon the desert and they saw the glory of the Lord appearing in the cloud. He said at twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning yo will be filled with bread, for I the Lord have heard your grumbling. That evening, quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning with the dew dried up, there thin flakes, like frost and the people questioned it , but Moses , “It is the bread the Lord has given yo to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: Each one is to gather as much as he needs for the day. Some when out and gathered much and some little. They each got no more and no less than what they needed, and they were warned not to hoard any for another day.
Our Lesson from Psalm 78, takes us further along the desert and the people have forgotten what God has done for them, and once again they were grumbling and being disobedient to God’s covenant. This is still true today, isn’t it? God tells us to do one thing and we ignore Him and do what we think is right. Beloved the church is not ours, it is His. What this test proved to God, was to tell Him that our faith was not as strong as it ought to be. We were refusing the follow the covenant that we had agreed to, and this is never a good move with the Creator. You say, “This was the Jews coming from Egypt.” That’s true, but as Christians, we have accepted the same covenant that they did and are just as accountable to it as they were!
In our lesson from Ephesians, we are expressly told that we are the body of Christ. To serve Christ the church must maintain its unity. Each member must serve in gentle, humble love, seeking peace and unity with every other member. The One Spirit in our lives leads us to be one church, not a church with divisions and splits. Our hope in Christ Jesus is a greater reason for unity than any disagreements which might separate us. God’s purpose is to create a great family of free persons to be His own people. When people trust Christ as their Savior, God pours His Spirit into their hearts. Thus, we are to live and work with humility, patience, and especially love, so that the common life of the community will not be broken.
Finally, our lesson from John’s Gospel, the 72 disciples that Jesus had sent to reach out to the surrounding communities with the Gospel of Salvation. Their reports were how successful they had been…..But, it was the power that Jesus gave them, that allowed to be successful. Surely the feeding of the multitudes is a miraculous example of God’s doing through Jesus. But today’s story is that Jesus didn’t go with his disciples the night before, he went to be by Himself to pray and to refresh. The people went looking for Him, because they wanted to make Him a king, which is why he had moved away from them that night. Jesus used miracles to draw people to the Good News of Salvation, through Christ.
This leads me to each of of you, God needs you to carry on the work that Jesus began. Each and every day, we encounter people who have not heard the Word of God and the Salvation that is available to them. Sometimes, you may be the only Bible someone has ever seen. So, our job is to model the attributes of being a Christian. You may see someone who notices the St. Joseph’s bumper sticker, and it is the perfect way to open the conversation with them about the church, if the go to church or are looking for one. One on one conversations are the best way to introduce Jesus to them. St. Joseph’s has several people that engage others regular, and they are always looking for someone else to help. We have a number of ministries that serve the church as well as the community and those are good ways to introduce others to our church. The point is, don’t be shy, be willing to share Christ with those around you, it’s a matter of being committed to the covenant! Amen