This will be the “Back Page” of the Fishkill United Methodist Church bulletin for 6 August 2017 (9th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A). The Scriptures for this Sunday are Genesis 32: 22 – 31, Romans 9: 1 – 5, and Matthew 14: 13 – 21.
This is a continuation of the idea that I wrote last week. Each of today’s Scripture readings has one thing in common and it is perhaps something you didn’t realize was a need of life.
John Wesley recognized that there were certain basic needs of life – a place to stay, food to eat, and adequate healthcare among them. If these basic needs are not met, then the Gospel message has no meaning. These needs are discussed in the Old Testament and Gospel readings for today.
But each of the readings for today also discusses the need for one’s own identity. It is quite clear that Jacob wanted his own identity and it is quite clear that Paul worried about the split between the Jews and Gentiles and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. And we know that there were at least 20,000 people eating the meal that Jesus blessed that day. In the society of Jesus’ day, not everyone was counted. Some 15,000 individuals were invisible to society that day.
But they were not invisible to Jesus and they have never been invisible to God. Jesus constantly went out of His way to make visible the invisible, to give identity to those without identity.
Ours has become the society of the invisible and the visible and some people are quite happy with that. But what does it say when we see, or rather do not see, groups of people? Who are we like when we do this?