Hear again these words from the letter to the Ephesians: “I ask that you’ll have the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all believers. I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God.” The writer of Ephesians prays that his hearers will be filled with the fullness of God. In the Gospel story today, Jesus takes five barley loaves and two fish and fills the bellies of 5,000 people. Twelve baskets are filled with the leftover pieces. The good news is that God offers us fullness.
Summer brings warm days which slow us down – Moving slowly, eating early and late, napping at midday.
In our southern city, it is as if the earth itself is calling us to slow down, dragging on our arms and legs.
Jesus sends his disciples out to preach repentance, but I do not think he means for them or us to preach condemnation. As Jesus sends his disciples out empty-handed, I wonder if he also means for us to travel lightly, without so many assumptions about who is right and who is wrong. Perhaps our mission is to preach repentance in a different way, inviting each other to return to God and experience a change of heart.
In the Gospel lesson we just heard from Mark, Jesus’ disciples are shouting. In the middle of the lake, in the midst of a howling gale, in a boat that is beginning to sink, they shout at Jesus, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” These are words that could come easily out of our own mouths. We, too, have known storms in our lives, storms where it seemed that chaos had the upper hand. Teacher, do you not care that we are drowning and perishing? Today, we gather in this place that is sometimes called a sanctuary, perhaps wondering if this is a safe place. We may be wondering if God is going to be here for us. I believe that in the middle of the maelstrom, in the tumult of the tempest, God is with us. God has the power to still the storm, but more importantly God has the love to open our hearts and calm our fears. God is still with us.
Is it possible, even probable that within each of us there resides a drift seed? That within each of us there is a seed germinating, humming, growing planted there by a loving God who knit us together in the womb? And as we go into the world, we carry that seed with the potential to let it go and to flourish?
And that we are the ocean current carrying it along?