Generosity and Grace – Living Bread and Loving Water

Matthew 10:40-42

John 6:1-14

Today’s readings from the bible are about generosity. We’ve all heard the word “generous?” What do you think it means?

Today, we heard stories about what it means to be “generous” or “share.” Do you ever share things with others? What things do you share?

Sometimes, sharing involves doing what’s right in front of you, what’s needed in the moment, to help someone out or make someone feel better. When it’s a hot day, what do you want most after you’ve been mowing the lawn, gardening, playing outside, or golfing?

Isn’t it great when someone shares a cold drink with you!

Jesus says something remarkable in today’s readings from the Bible. He tells us that when you share with another person, you are giving a gift to God. When you share, you will be blessed: you may not have more money or toys but you will have the greatest blessing – knowing how to love and be loved….

Now, it’s hard to describe God, but I think God is right beside us all the time, and that God feels our joy and pain. God is with us when we celebrate our birthday, enjoy a sunset, or cuddle up beside a loved one. I like the line from the film “Chariots of Fire,” when the runner Eric Liddle says, “God made me fast and when I run, I can feel God’s pleasure.” God is as near as our next breath, and feels our joys and sorrows.

God has fun when you do; God feels the love when you feel loved; God is thrilled when you are happy; and God feels sad when you’re sad…and when you help someone out, God feels their joy and relief. When you give a cup of water to someone in need, you’re also sharing with God.

That’s what happened in the story of the five loaves and two fish. It’s a story I first heard when I was a child. In fact, I was in a children’s play, and had the role of the boy with the fish and bread. People were hungry, and no one seemed to respond to their needs. I can’t imagine that in a crowd of 5000 people, no one brought any food: people sneak food into movie theatres and Red Sox games. Maybe they were worried that they wouldn’t have enough, so they kept their food under wraps so no one would notice.

But a little boy comes up, and little boys and girls can get hungry, and shares everything he has with Jesus. A miracle happens: a miracle is when god does something great in our lives to help change the world or protect us from harm, and that day, a miracle happens: everybody was fed!

Did the people suddenly realize that God would take care of them and decide to share their meal or, did Jesus use the energy of love, the energy that created the stars and sun, to make a big feast out of just a little school lunch.

The story is really about abundance and scarcity: it is a matter of how we see the world and our gifts and a reminder that together, when we share, we have more than we imagine….

On the 4th of July weekend, what do we celebrate?

I think we celebrate freedom, creativity, community, and being a country where people from different parts of the world, with different gifts, and different colors can be together, share their gifts, and do something beautiful.

Has anyone seen the statue of liberty? Do you know the poem that describes the statue?

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free….
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I think our country is best when we are generous and welcome neighbors from all over the world…and that’s worth celebrating. When we share what we have, and when we welcome others, we do something beautiful for God.

In God’s world, we always have enough – for children in India, Angel’s Place; for people who don’t have food or homes or water….for people who are lonely and need help, and we are blessed in the sharing.

When we share, we discover – like that little boy – that we have more than we thought; we feel God beside us, and discover God’s presence in every face. We are blessed in the blessing!