#AGreatDeal, a reflection for Sunday, July 26, 2015 asks, “When we are sold that something is a “good deal”, do we really believe that we are getting more than we expected? Are we just fooling ourselves? How does that impact our view of Jesus Christ? This reflection makes the case that Jesus is even better than advertised. See how.” Find out how in “A Great Deal”, the podcast for this week. Available on itunes and android. #MSAWordfortheDay #MySpiritualAdvisor #Sermon #Homily #KOHLS #JesusChrist #Spiritual #Moses #John6 #ParttheWater #GivetheMana #EternalGifts #OpentoChange
For My Spiritual Advisor, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 7/26/2015 The 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Please pause this audio and read John 6:1-20.
Kohl’s Department Stores have ruined my shopping experience. How so? It is the Kohl’s continual sale that has ruined me. Although I know that the shirt I can get on sale at Kohl’s is really worth $8.00, I still get sucked in by the idea that its retail price is $25.00 and I am getting this great Kohl’s deal for this shire at an $8.00 sale price. Because of this slick marketing, I am jaded by anything other than “Buy 1, get 1 free.”
“Buy 1, get 1 free” sounds a lot better than “Buy 1, get 1 at half price.” I usually do not even bother with the second one because it makes me feel like I am getting ripped off. I suppose I could think about it as if I am getting 2 for 25% off, but in advent of Kohl’s department store’s continual sale, I am ruined. I simply need something more and very rarely do I get more than I expected.
In the cacophony of communication in this ‘information age’, I would propose that it is hard for us to believe that Jesus is anything more than what we see shucked and hucked at Kohl’s. It is hard not to see Religion and Jesus Christ as more than a commodity, a product made to make our lives better. The Scriptures are full of “typologies” that tell us who Christ is.
In the next five consecutive Sundays, we are going to be bathed in John 6. It is the Eucharist Chapter. It is the chapter that tells us about the Bread of Life. Each Sunday inches toward something greater and reveals a little more. This Sunday is the foundational story. In the other Gospels it is the “Feeding of the 5,000”. Here, in John, there is no count of the number of people. Yet, to understand how central the Eucharist, Holy Communion, is to all Christians, this story in John, which we can call, “The Feeding of the Multitude” is the only miracle that is found in all four Gospels. The people are looking for a sign, and they are going to get one, a big one.
This story follows a typology we find with Moses. Moses is a prophet and leader of the Hebrew people sent to deliver them from slavery. This event, the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt, is the first Passover. All the events of Jesus’ life in John, which are telling about who he is happen at or near the Passover. Chapter 6, which we are beginning today, opens with Jesus celebrating the Passover amongst those who are friendly to him. Later, Jesus will be crucified at the Passover as the eternal sacrificial Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Jesus is both Moses who leads the people out of bondage to sin and he is the sacrificial lamb that is offered in our place for our sins.
Here we have the people gather around Jesus, like they followed Moses. Moses led the people out into the desert and gave them Bread from Heaven. Here, Jesus gives the people bread from a few loaves and a couple of fish. Jesus is both Moses, the leader, and the bread itself, for us. We will see that later on in this chapter, but I get ahead of myself.
For the protestant lection, the story of Jesus stilling the storm is included. This is important to the Moses typology, too. If you recall, Moses was granted mastery over the Red Sea to provide a pathway for the Hebrew people to leave captivity in Egypt. Jesus stills the storm and shows mastery over the waters as he, himself, is the pathway to freedom from captivity to our sins.
The people, sensing that Jesus was like Moses, want to make him King over them. Jesus, knowing that he is more than Moses, that his kingdom is not of this world, escapes to the mountains so that he cannot be placed on a lowly earthly throne. Jesus is more. What Jesus does is more.
Here, the people are expecting to be preached to and he feeds them. Mary expected her son to provide more water and he provided wine. Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, expected to have their brother healed, instead Lazarus was raised from the dead. Even if the people expected to be fed, here, Jesus is going to give more than just bread.
Last week, I asked why it was that we acted like we had nothing to give when in fact, in the person of Jesus, we have everything to give. This week, I am wondering if we are so jaded by life, our world, our work, our community, our politics, our general demeanor toward one another, our misinformation ‘information age’, that we have come to believe that Jesus is just as shallow and self-serving as everything else in our lives. Are we captive to that which we can only be certain? Are we captive only to what we can see, hear, feel, taste, and touch? Are we captive to what we want, we think, and we feel? Or, is there something more? Is there a way of living that is better regardless of our circumstances? Is there a reality beyond us found in God? Did God bring that reality to earth in the person of Jesus? If so, then why do we think of what Jesus has to offer as less, not as effective, not as good, not as great, not as desireable?
Jesus is greater than Moses who parted the Red Sea and delivered a tribe out of slavery in Egypt: Jesus delivered all of humanity, past, present, and future, out of slavery to sin. Moses gave the wandering, complaining, betraying tribe mana from heaven to eat. Jesus is going to give us Bread from Heaven, his body and blood, to eat. Moses’ food satisfied until the next day. Jesus’ food will satisfy for eternity. Moses’ food sustained the body. Jesus’ food transforms the soul and the actions lived out in the body.
So, Kohl’s can have their perpetual sale and try to convince us that the shirt we bought for $8.00 is really worth $25.00. We know the truth. We know it is the perpetual sale to convince us that we are getting a better deal than we are getting what we paid for. The difference between the Eucharist, Communion, and Jesus, and Kohl’s is that with Jesus and the Eucharist, we get more than is just represented by the bread and the cup. For that, we will cover more ground in the next four weeks.
I just ask that you be open to Christ, open to the Scriptures, and open to your life being changed by Jesus in the Bread of Life. Amen.
This audio is under the copyright of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated and may not be used, reduplicated, or distributed for commercial use without the express written consent of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated. My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated, 2015.