Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
For Sunday, July 31, 2011
lectionary focus: Matthew 14:13-21
When we eat, we usually sit in a chair at a table. Maybe we’ll sit on the couch and eat while we watch a movie or a ballgame. And sometimes, on special occassions, we’ll go on a picnic. We’ll sit on a blanket in the grass and eat. Picnics can be planned, such as when we travel and take food and plates and a blanket. Or they can just happen, like this afternoon we might take our lunch outside, or like when my dad was in the navy and sat on the curb one day and enjoyed a dinner of vanilla wafers and buttermilk. Whether they are planned or spontaneous, picnics are always relaxed. You make do with what you have. You don’t worry if you forgot a spoon or napkin. It’s okay if there is dirt. And the food tastes so good! In fact, picnics are so fun and easy-feeling that we use the word picnic to describe other easy things–that chore was a picnic; last night’s homework was a picnic. Picnics are a great way to have fun, to relax, to enjoy the world. Fun. Fun. Fun.
In our Bible story today, Jesus has a been outside preaching and teaching when it becomes dinnertime. The disciples don’t have enough food for all those thousands of people so they want to send them away. But Jesus doesn’t want to do that so He performs the miracle of feeding five thousand people. With just a little food, Jesus feeds everybody. And they don’t have just enough food, they have more than enough food!
This miracle is exciting! But the part of this story that I like best is right before Jesus feeds the people. Jesus tells them all to “sit down on the grass.” Here they are in a difficult situation. They are hungry. There’s not enough food. They are far from home. It is getting late. And Jesus says, ‘Let’s have a picnic!’ Jesus is reminding us that when things seem crazy and hard, we need to sit back, thank God, and enjoy what we have. Because usually, we have enough, and if we take our problems and wrap them in a coat of fun, fun, fun and work together…we can at least enjoy the challenge of solving them. God’s creation is always the perfect dining room, and a picnic is a great way to remind us of all the blessings we have from God so that we may be happy and satisfied.
Will you pray with me?
to sit down on the grass
and remember my blessings.