We are fools for the sake of Christ (1 Cor 4:10)
This is one of my favourite bible verses as I have played the fool a number of times for Christ or otherwise. However, I am an particularly taken with this verse being an April Fool's baby being born on April 1st
Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Sermon July 10, 2016 Seventh Sunday after Trinity
These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all, oh yeah
song The Boy in the Bubble, Paul Simon tells us that we are in a time of
miracles. That is true today even more
than when the song was written in 1986.
It was a long distance call but today we have smart phones and the
internet and all that comes with it; we have social media; and apparently we
are going to have self-driving cars before we know it—actually they being tested
on our roads today. I heard on the radio
this week that the first fatal accident involving a self-driving car has
happened. There will be more to come and
they tell us they are inevitable; they are the future of driving. So hang on to your hats and your steering
We do have
things at our finger tips that would seem like miracles even when Paul Simon
wrote that song. I looked up the date it
was composed on the internet and had an answer in less than a minute. And yet with all these miracles around us we
are in an age that no longer believes in what can’t be explained by science and
technology. Likely none of us here today
can explain how the internet or most of what we use works.
that doesn’t stop us from using them and considering them just a normal part of
our lives. Indeed if we didn’t have
access to everything that involves computers and the internet our society would
grind to a halt.
these miracles many people dismiss religion as superstition. They cannot believe what is portrayed in the
biblical miracles such as the one described in today’s Gospel passage—the
miracle of the loaves and fishes. This modern
movement to demythologize the events in the bible that could not be understood
in our modern day perspective was proposed most notably by Rudolph Bultmann who
attempted to demythologize the biblical accounts such as the story of the
loaves and the fishes. Indeed much liberal
theology today continues with this approach.
The accounts of the miracles of Jesus and other such accounts are
explained away psychologically or sociologically or even literary contexts.
who was a United Church minister, was very much in this approach to
theology. He did not accept that
miraculous things such as this account of the feeding of the four thousand
could have been a miraculous event as it was described. I even recall discussing this account with
him many years ago. His explanation was
that the miracle was the reaction by the crowd that was gathered. In his
understanding the people gathered had food hidden under their cloaks and were
moved by Jesus to share what they had with their neighbours.As a result there was more than enough for
everyone—there was even food left over.
preparing to write this sermon I found out—another example of the modern
miracle of the internet—that this was a common interpretation of the Gospel
passage amongst theologians and clergy of a liberal bent. The desire
or need by some people to have everything in life explained is, to my mind, a
critical mistake. The attempt to
consider everything from the perspective of the intellect is a fatal
mistake. As Hamlet
says to Horatio, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are
dreamt of in your philosophy”.
which is the purview of the divine does not deal only with the intellect. That is a part, albeit an important part of
God’s creation but there is much more to creation than intellect. I believe it is a mistake to make the belief
in miracles and other mysteries of our relationship with God to be the litmus
test for orthodoxy on either the traditional or liberal understanding of God.
understanding of God’s relationship with God’s greatest creation—humankind—does
not depend on the details or facts of a particular part of scripture. We should not get into arguments or worst
over the details of a particular event portrayed in the bible or other accounts
of God’s relationship with humankind. We
need to understand these accounts as myth rather than demythologizing
them. By that I mean we need to
understand the meaning—the capital T truth of these events. Why did they become part of the account of
the story of God’s people? Except for
the Resurrection, the multiplication of loaves is the only miracle told in all
four Gospels. What is the truth in these
accounts that made it essential for those Gospel writers to include the
event? Why did it resonate with people
through the ages up to today? What is
the truth of this story regardless of the details of the story? There are in total six different versions of
this event; Jesus fed the people on at least two occasions—once 5,000 men and
another time 4,000 men; once with five loaves and two fish and again with seven
loaves and a few fish; once with twelve baskets of remaining bread and in
another five baskets. The details may
vary but the truth of Jesus is eternal.
is the truth of the account of the feeding of the multitude—be it four thousand
or five thousand or each and every one of us today.
is that we are fed by the person of Jesus Christ each time we partake in the
Eucharist. We are fed with the food that
does not perish just as Jesus offered the Samaritan woman at the well the water
that is eternal and once you drink of it will never be thirsty again. Once you partake of the food that Jesus
offers you, you will never be hungry or thirsty again. That food that is offered is there in
abundance. There is food for everyone
and there is more than we can ever consume.
It is offered freely to all. Come
and taste and see that the Lord is good.
Happy are they that trust in him.