Many of us have favorite restaurants – ‘go to’ places for special occasions. Maybe even a favorite meal or a particular food that we enjoy… I have to admit, I’m a creature of habit. Some people remember vacations – or occasions – by meals they’ve eaten… Some even post pictures on Facebook or social media… Just to be clear, I’m not one of those people.
Our lessons this morning talk about food…and show us the ways that God provides nourishment for his people. God cares for his people in the wilderness and satisfies their hunger, both day and night. God provides each of us gifts that strengthen us as individuals, and as a community of believers. These gifts reveal our unique selves, that together make us a rich and diverse church, that together make us this Family of Faith. God is constantly providing for us – calling us to be the servant Body of Christ in this time and place – in this church and this community.
“For many were coming and going…and they had no leisure even to eat.” That’s Mark writing in our Gospel this morning, nearly 2,000 years ago. An apt description of our lives today, for many of us. Too busy…too preoccupied with what comes next to take a break…sometimes even to eat – going from one activity to the next. Taking care of children, providing care for family and loved ones with special needs – can often be round the clock commitments. Beyond that, technology makes it harder than ever to step away from our day to day obligations.
The bustle and busyness of our lives reshape our priorities. Perhaps not consciously, but overall in an even, deliberate way. We’re preoccupied, consumed with material possessions, hanging on to things and neglecting people and relationships. Stop and think about it. What happens if we as Christians become too busy to gather together as people of faith. Don’t kid yourself, it’s happening already. And has been for a long time.
There’s an underlying message in our lessons this morning. God is bringing people together for their own good and for the good of the world. That is hopefully, a clear mark of our outreach ministries here at Faith.
Paul reminds us in our second lesson that all the old boundaries, all the old labels, don’t count for anything. To be new in Christ is to have a new vision of God’s world; it is to be touched by resurrection hope; it is to have a new understanding of our mission.
And that mission is described in the lessons this morning. It is a nurturing, it is a guiding, it is a caring, it is a feeding that reaches all people, regardless of labels. These are wonderful lessons for any time, but particularly today in these early weeks after Pentecost and as we celebrate Grace’s baptism. They come as a reminder of our Easter hope. They come as a blueprint for our congregational ministry. They come as a guide for each of us in our daily baptismal ministry in the world.