Evening Prayer: November 30th

Creator God, as the sun sets and the curtain of night falls, I lay before you my thoughts and acts of this day. I trust that they have been pleasing in your sight. In the quiet of this evening hour, accept my flawed efforts of this day, and strengthen me as I continue my faith journey tomorrow. Gracious God, keep me leaning on your everlasting arms as I surrender the night to you, faithfully praying for rest after a blessed yet busy day. IN the blessed name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Daily Scripture Passage: Isaiah 25:6-10

Isaiah 25:6-10 (ESV)

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
    a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
    of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
And he will swallow up on this mountain
    the covering that is cast over all peoples,
    the veil that is spread over all nations.
    He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
    and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
    for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
    “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
    This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
    let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
10 For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain,
    and Moab shall be trampled down in his place,
    as straw is trampled down in a dunghill.

Thoughts to Ponder from Matthew 15:29-37

Matthew 15:29-37 (ESV)

Jesus Heals Many

29 Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. 30 And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, 31 so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel.

Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand

32 Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”33 And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” 34 And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” 35 And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, 36 he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 37 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over.

“How many loaves do you have?” (Matthew 15:34).

While it tells the story of a wondrous miracle – the multiplication of the loaves and fishes – today’s Gospel reading also shows that we are not passive recipients at the banquet of life. Yes, Jesus performed the miracle. Yes, he fed a large crowd with very little food; no one else could have done that. But everyone there that day had a role to play.

The people in the crowd did their part. They actively sought Jesus, bringing their sick friends and relatives to him. Then, when they saw him heal, they “glorified” God (Matthew 15:31). When they grew hungry, rather than rushing off to find food or turning into a restless mob, they listened to the disciples and sat down, waiting to see what Jesus would do. They were amazed at the miracle he performed and ate their fill.

The Twelve also played a vital part in this miracle. First, Jesus shared his concern with them: “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd” (Matthew 15:32). Then they gathered their resources and brought them to him. After Jesus gave thanks for these gifts and the food was multiplied, it was the disciples who passed it around to all the people sitting in amazement.

Just as the people in today’s Gospel were not spectators, God doesn’t want us to be spectators either – especially at church. Just as the people did in his time, we can come to church hungry for his Word and thirsty for his touch. We can participate actively in the worship and bring our gifts and our needs to him. Then, after Jesus has transformed the gifts, we can come to the altar and receive more than enough to satisfy us.

Our God is a generous God. He gives us much more than we ask for. He asks us how many “loaves” we have, even though he knows the answer. Then he takes the little that we offer him and multiplies it a hundredfold so that we are filled up to overflowing with his grace. He never stops giving, over and over again.

Jesus, I offer you my heart, my mind, my will. Amen.