Canticle of Praise over God's Faithful Provisions
(from the Jewish tradition)
We will be one with the praise songs of all peoples.
Praise God, for he restores the earth to its goodness.
Praise God for he restores humanity to themselves.
Praise God all ye nations! Sing praises unto Him all ye peoples.
For the faithfulness of the Lord has been mighty with us.
And the truth of the Lord is forever. Hallelujah. Amen.
based on John 6:1-21
by Rev. Karen A. Goltz
“The Old Ragged Shirt”......
ever felt like that ragged old shirt? You want to help out, but you feel
trapped by circumstance, by your geography or your resources. “I know there’s
injustice in the Middle East,” you might say. “But I’m in Sudbury,
Massachusetts. What can I do from here?” Or maybe it’s something like, “I know
there are a lot of people in need, homeless or hungry, but there are so many of
them, I can’t possibly feed them all! And right now I can barely take care of
myself. How much good can my little contribution really do?” So we pull back
within ourselves, we tell ourselves that the problems in the Middle East are too
far away for us to do anything, and don’t really affect us here anyway. We tell
ourselves that the people in need are just lazy, looking for free handouts and
taking advantage of the system, and it’s best not to encourage that sort of
behavior, all the while hoping that we ourselves won’t have to use those
services. We work hard and take hold of our Bibles and proudly quote, “God
helps those who help themselves,” not realizing that it was actually Ben
Franklin who said that, and it’s not a passage from scripture.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, because there
is so much need in the world, including our own. People all over the world,
in the United States and elsewhere, are hungry, homeless, suffering injustice.
There are so many who are sick, lonely, or in need of guidance. There are so
many organizations like Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran Social Services, Prison
Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service,
just to name a very small few, that need our help. There are so many ministries
to support, so many needs to fulfill, that we can’t possibly address them all.
When Jesus saw the large crowd, he asked
Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” I imagine that
question must have panicked Philip. Five thousand people. Show of hands: who
among you is willing and able to provide a satisfying meal to five thousand
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