Archive for August, 2011

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 7, 2011

First Presbyterian Church of Yellow Springs

Rev. Joe Hinds

Matthew 14:22-33



  1. Way In

    My Experience

    Lifeguard Lessons: Alpine Camp, ca. 1972

    Had to find a big rock (ca. 20 lbs.) and bring it to the surface

    Very tired in the water, was afraid of drowning

    Drowning as a universal expression of helplessness

    we can all relate to fear of drowning

    going down for the last time

    “breathing” in lung-fulls of water

    Surprised to learn that many of the avid fishermen I met on Long Island, even the commercial fishermen; the ones who make their living from the heart of the sea

    were not swimmers

    some simply did not enjoy it after working all day on the water, there were others who never learned

    heard stories of falling overboard wearing heavy gear, waders filling with water

    Horrifying and touching story in the paper last week

    2 women caught in the undertow while swimming in Lake Ontario

    Literally did not believe they would make it out alive

    my own experience of Gardiner’s Bay in the boat in rough water

    You know what I mean. Open water, rough water, it’s a scary place to be


    Keep those in mind while we think about today’s lesson

  2. Tell the Story


    After Jesus heard of John the Baptist’s execution at the hands of Herod, he went away by boat to a quiet place.

    Sea of Galilee, Lake Gennesaret

    The crowds found Jesus

    he responded to their needs

    had compassion for them and cured their sick

    evening came, disciples asked Jesus to send the crowd away so they could buy themselves some food

    Jesus said to let them stay and give them something to eat

    A miraculous feeding

    Disciples could only find 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish

    Jesus blessed this much food, and told the disciples to start feeding the crowd

    By the time they were done everybody had enough to eat

    There were 5,000 men there, plus women and children who were not counted

    Today’s reading begins that same evening

    Dismissals after supper

    Jesus sent the disciples across the lake in the boat

    He stayed behind and dismissed the crowds

    Jesus went up the mountain (again) to pray

    Meanwhile that evening out on the boat

    Evening = not as late as night, prob. before 9 p.m.

    Boat was far from land

    Many stadia (stadi,ouj pollou.j)

    Stadium, Greek unit of measure

    about 200 meters, 650 ft.

    standard for a foot race in ancient Olympic event (stadium, name for arena)

    So the boat was far out, many stadia from land, “many” x 200 meters, and the wind was against the boat

    Boat was battered by the waves

    the storm lasted all night

    Jesus walks on the water

    Early the next morning, Jesus came walking up. On the water!

    Disciples’ reaction; terrified, thought he was a ghost, cried out in fear

    Jesus, “Take heart, it is I, do not be afraid.”

    Peter tries it

    “Lord if it’s you, get me out there on the water, too.”

    And Jesus said, “Come on out.”

    Peter started walking, but became afraid when the wind picked up

    Peter started to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me.”

    Jesus responds

    Immediately reached out his hand and caught Peter

    “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

    Jesus and Peter got back in the boat, then the wind stopped

    Everybody in the boat worshipped Jesus, saying, “Truly you are the son of God.”

  3. So What?

    The Big Idea

    The disciples recognized Jesus

    One who does miraculous things, like God does.

    As in walking on water

    When he said “It is I,” that is reminiscent of how God identified himself to Moses at the burning bush; “I am.”

    Peter speaks/acts on behalf of the others: represents their strengths and weaknesses

    Jesus said that Peter had “little faith.” This is not to say he had no faith, just not as much as he could have

    Yet this is Peter, the one upon whom Christ will build his church

    Jesus Christ, the one who gives us the assurance, even in times of great fear, that we are able to follow his ways as long as we rely on him.



    Peter had enough faith to step out of the boat in the first place

    His fear of the dangerous water overcame him, his calling out to Jesus saved him

    We need life preservers for the water

    Life jackets

    Lift us up, keep us from drowning


    Channel markers that show the way


    Mark dangerous waters, rocks

    For us

    We have the faith to step out of the boat in the first place

    Yet, like Peter, our faith is still little

    And, like Peter, it is still enough to get us by for a moment

    But we need the help of Christ

    Who always reaches out to save us

    Faith is what we need for the long haul

    It took only the regular amount of faith for Peter to step out of the boat in the first place

    Yet he needed to reach out to Jesus for the journey the rest of the way

    When we decide to follow Jesus, to live as he teaches, to see him in others, and to be a living reminder of his ways of peace, community, and justice…

    We need to know his presence: seen/known in the church – the Body of Christ

    Charge: Let us be Christ for each other, supporting one another in his name along our journey of faith.

    We had enough to get us to step out of the boat in the first place

Let us look to him, finding him in others, being as Christ for others in our own journey.


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First Presbyterian Church of Yellow Springs

Rev. Joe Hinds

Matthew 14:13-21

  1. Way In

    Do you have a summer reading list? For the beach, the camp, maybe just at home?

    I do, or I did.

    We did a lot of reading the last couple of weeks

    I carried a whole suitcase of books.

    How about you?

    So imagine settling down to start your book

    Make yourself comfortable

    Open up your book, start to read …

    Chapter 1, page 1, 1st paragraph, 1st sentence, reads like this …

    “Now when she heard this, she left in a boat …”

    Is that a great opening sentence, or what?

    Really gets your attention

    Makes you want to read more

    I don’t know about you, but I would want to know that the “this” is

    That’s the way today’s gospel reading begins

    1st sentence really draws you in

    “Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself.”

    What Jesus heard is in the verses, at the end of chapter 13, right before today’s reading

  2. Tell the Story

    (Context) Recent past

    Death/execution of John the Baptist

    (start with this phrase) Jesus had just received the news that Herod had executed his cousin John t. B.

    Herod had arrested and imprisoned him

    Over some remarks John had made about the legitimacy of his marriage

    Then, just a few days before, at a great banquet honoring Herod’s birthday party …

    Herod made a promise to his wife’s daughter after her dance which pleased Herod’s court immensely

    Herod promised her anything she wished

    Her birthday wish, prompted by her mother, was to have the head of the prisoner – John the Baptist brought to her on a platter

    So she could give it is a gift to her mother

    (pause) King Herod kept his promise

    And the scriptures say, in the verse just before today’s reading, that John’s followers “went and took his body and buried it, then they went to tell Jesus.”

    This is what Jesus heard when he withdrew from the crowds to go off to a deserted place by himself

    No doubt, Jesus was weary from the long spell of preaching and teaching among the people

    He had been on the road constantly since appointing the 12 disciples

    Teaching them and preparing them for ministry

    And, as Jesus himself described it, “the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.” (11:5 f.)

    Besides that, he told the crowds that were following him “no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist

    Now he learns that his cousin, the prophet was executed by a brutal and lascivious King, on the careless whim of a spiteful queen, making nothing more of John’s life than a horrifying game

    Jesus needed to get away, but this was not to be the day for that

    Today’s reading

    The crowds found where he went by boat, and they followed him on foot

    Seeing them, Jesus went ashore,

    Despite his own grief and need for rest, he was full of compassion for the people

    he cured the ones among them who were sick

    The disciples noticed that it was getting closer to suppertime, said to Jesus

    It’s getting late, Lord, and we’re in the middle of nowhere

    How about you send the crowds away

    so they can go into town to buy something to eat

    Jesus may have thrown his hands up or rolled his eyes when he said,

    They don’t need to go anywhere

    YOU give them something to eat

    “But we don’t have anything to give them”

    Only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish

    Remember there are 5,000 men here “not counting women and children”

    So if there was 1 woman and 1 child for every man there were 15,000

    Safe to say there were 10,000 – 15,000

    Jesus said, bring me what you have

    He had the crowd sit down

    He took the loaves and fish

    gave thanks to God and blessed them

    Jesus gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disc. gave them to the crowds

    Everybody ate and were filled

    And there were 12 baskets filled with what was left over

  3. So What?

    Everybody knows the story of the feeding the 5,000

    And that was sure enough a miracle

    But did you notice how the disciples responded at first?

    When they realized it was getting close to supper time?

    “We don’t have enough food, Jesus better send all these people home”

    But Jesus, already having compassion for the crowds as he did his healing …

    He told the disciples, “You give them something to eat.”

    They said, “But look Lord, all we have is 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish”

    But Jesus said, “Bring me what you have.”

    Have you ever felt like the disciples?

    We don’t have enough, we might use it all up here

    Could this be like the church? Are we ‘enough?’

    We only have a few members, Lord

    We don’t have as many as we used to

    It may not be enough

    I only have $5 for the offering this week

    I just started reading the Bible, I’m a “new” Christian

    I love to sing, but I can’t carry a tune in a bucket

    Do we feel there are things holding us back?

    Are we afraid that there won’t’ be enough if we use it all up today

    To all of these, Jesus answers “Bring me what you have”

    In the hands of the disciples 2 fish and 5 loaves were a meager meal

    Not even enough to feed the 12 of them, let alone the huge crowd before them

    In Jesus’ hands this was a gift

    “Bring me what you have”

    He took it and gave thanks to God for it

    Then, in Jesus’ hands the gift expanded

    The disciples saw the scarcity and it scared them

    “send them home”

    Jesus saw the bounty in God’s possibility

    And the disciples’ humble gift was all he needed

    It’s the same with us

    When we feel inadequate, afraid there isn’t enough

    When we forget about God providing everything we need

    Jesus says, “Bring me what you have”

    It’s enough, we’re enough

    In his hands, the humble gift we bring of ourselves is enough

    As long as we offer all we have

    Not holding anything back, ‘just in case’

    The difference was, Jesus gave thanks to God for what they had

    Then it was more than enough

    Jesus said, “Bring me what you have.” The other thing is that he made the disciples part of the miracle

    Now Jesus, being Jesus, could have made the miracle happen any kind of way

    He could have had the crowds sit down

    And make a KFC 2 piece meal plop down in everybody’s lap

    The miracle could have taken any form

    And he didn’t need the disciples’ help

    Jesus chose to teach the disciples something through the miracle

    Took what they had and expanded the gift

    And he made the disciples a part of it

    Jesus did the miracle

    He’s the one with the power to produce bounty from scarcity

    But the miracle came through the hands of the disciples

    The disciples weren’t just observers of, but participants in the miracle

    And so we are called

    Not as just observers or readers of the Word, but doers of the word

    The miracles of God’s provision in Jesus call us to be participants

    As the 16th century nun, Teresa of Avila wrote:

    Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, yours are the eyes through which he looks he looks with compassion on the world. Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good. Yours are the hands with which he is to bless the world now.

    Bring what you have. In the service of Jesus Christ and his church, it is enough.

    Be part of the miracle.

So let it be with us. Amen

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