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Ninth Sunday after Pentecost - "More Than Enough" by Pr. Jim

NINTH SUNDAY after PENTECOST

25 July 2021

Grace Lutheran Church

Ashland, Oregon

The Rev. James A. Kabel, Intentional Interim

WELCOME

Welcome to Grace Lutheran Church. We are happy that you have joined us for worship this morning. May all present grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in a love and desire to serve him. If you are a guest or visitor and have not done so already, please honor us by signing our Guest Book in the entrance hall of the church as you leave. Following worship, join us for coffee during our Fellowship Hour and let us become better acquainted with you as you get to know us better. If you have no church home of your own in the area, we invite you to make Grace Lutheran Church the center of your worship, learning, fellowship, and service. Pastor Jim or this morning’s lay assistant will be happy to answer any questions you may have concerning our parish. Come to worship with us again and often!

AS WE GATHER   More Than Enough

Today is the first of five Sundays with gospel readings from John, the first four of which focus on Jesus as the bread of life. Today Jesus feeds thousands of people with five loaves and two fish. What we have, what we bring to Jesus’ table, seems like it is not nearly enough to meet all the needs around us. But it is not the adequacy of our supplies or our skills that finally make the difference: it is the power of Jesus working in the littlest and least to transform this world into the world God desires, a world where all are satisfied physically and spiritually.

PRAYER BEFORE WORSHIP

O God, you see how busy we are with many things. In this hour of worship and prayer, give us rest from all that would cause us to be anxious. Turn us to listen to you as you come to us in Word and Sacrament, assuring us of that peace which passes all understanding. We ask this in the Name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

PRE-SERVICE MUSIC

SERVICE CHIMES

WELCOME

The Psalm of the Day speaks of God who opens his hand wide and gives us food in every season, implying that our hungers, physical and spiritual, will only be satisfied by God. In Christ, God satisfies our thirst for living waters and feeds us with living bread. Today we witness his power as he takes a little boy’s lunch and turns it into food for thousands. But it was not only the bread and fish that were transformed; the disciples and the people were transformed by the Bread which satisfies the hungry soul.

PRELUDE At the Table—Brian Gibson

Tatsiana Ascheichyk, Piano

INVOCATION & CONFESSION

In the Name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“I am the Bread of Life,” says the Lord. “Whoever eats of this bread will never die.”

   If we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins

and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Prepare to be invited to the banquet of the Lord.

+ A Brief Silence for Reflection & Self-examination +

Most merciful God, despite the kindness of your generosity, we live in the

futility of greed. Darkened by sin and deluded by Satan, we seek what only

you can give; we hunger and thirst for righteousness. For the sake of your

Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive and renew us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways to the glory of your holy Name.

The Bread of Life was given for the life of the world. In the mercy of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for you, and for his sake and by his authority, I declare

to you the entire forgiveness of all your sins, in the Name of the Father, and of the

+ Son, and of the Holy Spirt. Amen.

PASSING of PEACE

APOSTOLIC GREETING

The grace of our Risen Savior, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

be with you all.

                 And also with you.

NOW THE FEAST Refrain: Now the feast and celebration,

All of creation sings for joy

to the God of life and love and freedom:

praise and glory forevermore!

  1. Now is the feast of the Lamb once slain,

whose blood has freed and united us to

be one great people of God. Refrain

  1. Power and riches, wisdom and might,

all honor and glory to Christ forever. Refrain

  1. For God has come to dwell with us, to make

us people of God; to make all things new. Refrain

Gracious God, you have placed within the hearts of all your children a longing

for your Word and a hunger for your truth. Grant that we may know your Son

to be the true bread of heaven and share this bread with all the world, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

FIRST LESSON 2 Kings 4:42-44

[Today’s reading is part of a larger section of 2nd Kings that describes the miracles of Elisha, the successor to the prophet Elijah. Here the prophets give food to a hungry crowd. Though there is

not enough food to go around, Elisha trust God, who provides enough and even more to satisfy

the need.]

A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing food from the first fruits to the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, ‘Give it to the people and let them eat.’ But his servant said, ‘How can I set this before a hundred people?’ So he repeated, ‘Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the Lord, “They shall eat and have some left.”’ He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.

The word of the Lord.

                                                   Thanks be to God!

PSALM 145 (Read responsively)

Refrain: You open wide your hand and satisfy the needs

of every living creature.

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.

One generation will commend your works to another;

they will tell of your mighty acts.

The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. Refrain

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.

You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves

them.  Refrain

SECOND LESSON Ephesians 3:14-21

[We have been rooted and grounded in the love of Christ, which surpasses all human knowledge. Because Christ dwells in our hearts, our lives are continuously strengthened

and empowered by the ongoing presence of the Spirit.]

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God!

SPECIAL MUSIC God Leads Us Along—Lisa Hoekstra

GOSPEL John 6:1-21

The Holy Gospel according to John, the 6th chapter. Glory to you, O Lord.

[In John’s gospel, the miracles of Jesus are called “signs,” because they reveal the true character of God. As such, they remain within the mystery of God and cannot be brought

under human control.]

After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?’ He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, ‘Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?’ Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ Now here was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.’ So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, ‘This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.’

When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, got into a boat, and started across the lake to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The lake became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land towards which they were going.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

     Praise to you, O Christ.

HYMN Praise and Thanksgiving LSB 789

HOMILY More Than Enough—Pr. Jim Text: The Gospel Lesson

More Than Enough

+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +

It really was an outrageous question. Jesus and the disciples are in the wilderness … in the middle of nowhere on the Gentile side of the Sea of Galilee. There’s a huge crowd of over 5000 people … not counting women and children. So, when Jesus asks, "Where are we going to find food for all these people to eat," you can almost image Phillip rolling his eyes when he suggests to Jesus that it would take about 8 months’ worth of wages just feed everyone. The task is overwhelming. Andrew chimes in that there’s a boy with some barley loaves (the cheapest of bread) and some fish. But it won't even put a dent in feeding the crowd.

“The task is too big,” they say … “the crowd too large” … “our resources are too meager,” they say. “There’s just a boy’s lunch of bread and fish that won’t even put a dent in what’s needed. “ The task is too big. Bottom line: send the people to the towns and villages so that they can fend for themselves. Nothing else to do, right?

Certainly, The Church hasn’t learned much over the centuries from that day on the hillside … echoing the disciples when called by God to do something. "We would like to, but our congregation is nothing compared to the need. How can we even begin to make a dent in the problem or solve it?” The problem is too overwhelming and the resources too scarce to be able to do what we are called to do.

There are many reasons for thinking about the scarcity of resources. Perhaps we’re afraid to imagine what God is up to … how God might include us in something that’s greater than what we know and can see. Whatever the reason … fear and uncertainty chokes us and keeps us confined to the "tyranny of the possible."

Nearly every mission possibility in nearly every congregation fails sooner or later because of scarcity thinking. Even businesses fall victim to the attitudes of scarcity that pervade our society. God calls us all to undertake things that require us to think beyond ourselves … to think outside the box. For when we limit our thinking, we fail to answer God's call … we fail to live in service to one another as we should.

Jesus understands and lives a different mentality … that of abundance. He doesn't invent it. His understanding is deeply rooted in the stories of his own people Israel. When God rescued them from Egypt, they only saw scarcity … complaining that God didn’t provide enough food and water for them. They failed to trust in God’s abundance. Even though they saw the power of God's rescue at the parting of the waters of the sea, they didn’t see God as nurturing and caring enough to provide even the most basic of wants. So, they cried out … not once … not twice … but over and over again. They only learned slowly that God was committed to their well-being … not only in the basics … but in abundance.

In today’s text, the blessed apostle John wants us to see Jesus as reconnecting God's people to mission and ministry. There are some clues in today’s gospel lesson. Where does the feeding take place? On the "other side of the sea" … the wilderness … the place of the Gentiles … the place of chaos. Yet Jesus leads the people here … just as God led the people of Israel through the sea into the wilderness to help them learn trust. In the text, the people follow Jesus around the sea, but on the way back Jesus walks on the water. John clearly wants us to see the connection between these two events. John doesn't use walking on water as a lesson on faith, … as the other Gospels do … but as a reminder … a reminder that the God who has power over the waters of chaos, is also the one who feeds the people. Here we are returning to the wilderness … returning to God's rescue … in order to remind us that God is still engaged in reclaiming all people. In coming weeks, we’ll discover the meaning and lessons of the manna for today, but for now it’s enough to note that Jesus' very presence is part of God's gift of new manna for all people.

Though many authors dispute the Eucharistic significance of this story in John's gospel, I think that the absence of the meal in the upper room during John's Maundy Thursday account is balanced by the dual teachings of wine in Chapter 2 (the story of water into wine) and bread in Chapter 6. Both stories include scarcity that turns into abundance. Both stories present the messianic banquet as starting with Jesus' own presence. Both stories help us understand the extravagant abundance of God. It isn't just wine Jesus makes out of water, but the best wine. It isn't just food that Jesus multiplies, but so much that there’s an abundance of leftovers … twelve basketsful. And these leftovers aren’t just an accident, but a sign that the feast is not over. It’s intended to go on. The leftovers are for the disciples to continue to distribute. Jesus' feast goes on where Jesus is present.

So how does this abundant God continue to come to us? Interestingly, it’s through the feast we celebrate today … a feast that connects us to the many feasts that God provides. God's grace not only assures us that we are forgiven, but helps us see that where God is, there is an abundant feast. In little pieces of bread and tiny sips of wine, there is enough … not just enough … but enough for us all and leftovers for us to share.

You see, this feast becomes a pattern for our daily living as God's people. It allows us to experience the abundance of God in such a way that we see that abundance around us. Consider one of the challenges identified during this interim … not having many young families and children. Consider the vision of something different … of sharing a vision of abundance. Rather than lamenting the fact that there aren’t any young people and younger families, how about celebrating the fact that Grace has people who have the gifts of time … wisdom … experience … resources and love to share with young people and families. Imagine going out into the wilderness beyond these four walls and finding the places where there are young people and families who need the gifts we have to share … coming alongside them and encouraging them. Imagine growing that ministry with enough left over to build other areas of ministry.

The lesson is simple, God abundantly gives all we need for our daily lives to have not only meaning and purpose, but creativity and life! God provides us with the pattern of his own self-giving love so that we can be freed from the scarcity of our thinking … freed for a world of richness … beauty … and delight. Though we may think ourselves poor, we are able to enrich all around us. Though we may think that we lack so many things, God richly blesses us with more than we need. Though we may be tempted to lament our failures, God reaches in Word and Sacrament to encourage us to imagine and create with him new ways to reach out with love … with or without a tenured pastor.

And the payoff is the most exciting part of all of this. The kingdom grows as we grow in sharing the abundance God gives in the midst the calling process.

On this 9th Sunday after Pentecost, my challenge for you is to experience this giving God in your worship and your life always. Then, think creatively, imagine all the possibilities God places in your life that you might know his abundance and extravagance. Don't just come to the feast, come ready for abundance enough to share.

+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +

APOSTOLIC CREED                                     

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died and was buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day He rose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven

and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life + everlasting. Amen.

Confident in God’s steadfast love through Jesus Christ, and guided by the Holy Spirit, let us pray for the Church, the world, and all those in need.

We pray for your Church, O God. Bless the ministries of our neighboring congregations. Empower churches throughout the world and encourage bishops, pastors, missionaries, and deacons in their proclamation of the gospel. Kindle in us a spirit of collaboration, that all people may know your loving works. Give us patience during the ongoing call process and keep us mindful that in your time you will provide us with a pastor yet unknown to us but known and loved by you. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Restore your creation, O God. Send rain to lands experiencing drought and forest fires. Come to the aid of those enduring sweltering heat. Nurture wheat and barley crops grown for the nourishment of your people. Protect all firefighters and first responders as they continue contain and manage further devastation caused by the current burns. Sustain the families of all those who are deployed to fight and gain control of the forest fires. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Reconcile the nations, O God. Break down the walls that make us strangers to one another and unite us as one human family. Cast out arrogance, selfishness, and corruption. Instruct those who lead and govern to practice compassion and humility. Equip them to deal wisely with civil unrest and conflict. Guide diplomats as they seek peaceful solutions that all people may live in harmony with one another. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Bring healing, O God, to those bowed down by heavy burdens: those who are unemployed or underemployed, those unable to find affordable housing, and those without health insurance. Look with compassion on all who are in need this day especially Shari, Bert, those suffering from COVID-19 and its variants, together with those we name in our heart that they may receive hope, healing, and the mercies rendered by us as your servant people. Be close to those who are lonely

or home-bound, especially Sharon, Richard & Doris, Dottie, Bonnie, Vernia, Elma, Marguerite (MaryAnn’s mother), and those we name in our hearts that they may be assured of your loving presence in our compassion, prayers, and care for them. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Nourish this congregation, O God, with the abundance of your mercy and grace through Word and Sacrament. Deepen our resolve to use what we have to serve those in need. When we worry that we do not have enough resources for ministry, assure us of your abundance. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We give thanks to you, O God, for the faithful who have gone before us with the sign of faith and pointed us toward you. As you sustained them through all their days, so dwell in our hearts that we too may have the power to comprehend the height and depth of your love for us in your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We raise our prayers to you, O God, trusting in your never-ending goodness and mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Offerings Are Brought Forward

OFFERING PRAYER

Heavenly Father, in Christ you have raised us to new life. Receive what

we have to offer, that others might know that life through the gifts you

give us to use and to share in the Name of your Son, Jesus Christ, our

Savior and Lord. Amen.

GREAT THANKSGIVING

The Lord be with you.

   And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

   We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

   It is right to give him thanks and praise.

Blessed are you, O holy God: You are the Life and Light of all.

By your powerful word you created all things.

Through the prophets you called your people

to be a light to the nations

Blessed are you for Jesus, your Son.

He is your Light, shining in our darkness

And revealing to us your mercy and might.

.

In the night in which he was betrayed,

our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;

broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying:

Take and eat; this is my + body which is given

for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,

And gave it for all to drink, saying:

This cup is the new covenant in my + blood

shed for you and for all people

for the forgiveness of sin. Do this in remembrance of me.

By your Spirit bless us and this meal, that refreshed with

this heavenly food, we may be light for the world, revealing

The brilliance of your Son.

Amen. Come, Holy Spirit.

Through him all glory and honor are yours, Almighty Father, with

the Holy Spirit, in your holy Church, both now and forever. Amen.

LORD’S PRAYER

Our Father who art in heaven;

hallowed be Thy Name,

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our trespasses

as we forgive those

who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil;

For thine is the kingdom

and the power and the glory

forever and ever. Amen.

PAX DOMINI

The peace of the Lord be with you always. And also with you.

DISTRIBUTION

Distribution Music Now We Remain

DISMISSAL

PRAYER of THANKSGIVING

O God of love, you bind us to yourself in this sacrament, and strengthen us through this meal for service to the world. Guide us by your Spirit that we

may forever give witness to the Name of Jesus Christ, the Lord of Life. We

ask this in his Name. Amen.

BLESSING              

SONG Thanks Be to You(Join in singing)

  1. Praise to you, O God of mercy: Thanks be to you forever!

Raising high the weak and lowly: Thanks be to you forever!

  1. From of old you loved and sought us: Thanks be to you forever!

Truth and justice you have taught us: Thanks be to you forever!

Strong is your faithfulness, strong is your love,

Rememb’ring your covenant of love with us.

  1. Praise to you, O God of mercy: Thanks be to you forever!

Raising high the weak and lowly: Thanks be to you forever!

Thanks be to you forever!

ANNOUNCEMENTS

DISMISSAL

Go in peace. Serve the Lord.

               Thanks be to God!         

+ With Great Boldness … Tell Everyone What He Has Done! +

GRACE NOTES

COFFEE CONNECTION …THE FELLOWSHIP

WINDOW is open again for coffee and goodies!

We encourage everyone to participate in this

very welcome hospitality ministry by signing up

to either host or help serve in the kitchen, provide

goodies, or both! For further details, please speak

with either Pearl, Nan, or Mary.

OUR THANKS TO ALL who made last Sunday’s Church BBQ a success especially the Hospitality Committee (Pearl Baumgartner, Mary Pasche, Nan Gunderson, & Sara Davis), Tom & Krista Hepford (grill masters), Bob Janssen (set-up), everyone who provided the trimmings, and all those who pitched in and helped with clean-up.

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