Sunday, July 18, 2010

Trinity 7: A Devotional Commentary

Genesis 2:7-17 Yahweh God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Yahweh God planted a garden eastward, in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground Yahweh God made every tree to grow that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the middle of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it was parted, and became four heads. The name of the first is Pishon: this is the one which flows through the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good. There is aromatic resin and the onyx stone. The name of the second river is Gihon: the same river that flows through the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Hiddekel: this is the one which flows in front of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates. Yahweh God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Yahweh God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it; for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die.”

Romans 6:19-23 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh, for as you presented your members as servants to uncleanness and to wickedness upon wickedness, even so now present your members as servants to righteousness for sanctification. For when you were servants of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit then did you have at that time in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now, being made free from sin, and having become servants of God, you have your fruit of sanctification, and the result of eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Mark 8:1-9 In those days, when there was a very great multitude, and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to himself, and said to them, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have stayed with me now three days, and have nothing to eat. If I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint on the way, for some of them have come a long way.” His disciples answered him, “From where could one satisfy these people with bread here in a deserted place?” He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves. Having given thanks, he broke them, and gave them to his disciples to serve, and they served the multitude. They had a few small fish. Having blessed them, he said to serve these also. They ate, and were filled. They took up seven baskets of broken pieces that were left over. Those who had eaten were about four thousand. Then he sent them away.

God formed man out of the dust of the ground and provides man with everything that he needs. God gives you all that you need for life. If God stopped providing you with life you would cease to exist. We have grown so accustomed to readily available food and drink and air that we do not recognize them as the miraculous gifts of God that they are.

In the Gospel reading, Jesus does what God has been doing since the time of creation and what He still does for you today. God provides us with food. We don't truly appreciate food until we are deprived of it. We may even complain about the type of food we are given or the type of food we can afford. But it is all given to us by God and should be received with thanksgiving and recognition of the One who provides us with food.

The sacrament of the altar is often neglected and dismissed as a mere symbol. But Jesus says that they are miraculously His very body and blood. Just as Jesus sent His apostles to distribute the food that He provided, He sends forth ministers to distribute His body and blood to the hungry and thirsty. The Lord's Supper is truly a miracle where we receive the very body and blood that was broken and shed for the forgiveness of our sins. God works through human means to deliver this body and blood to us but the body and blood are provided by Jesus and are miraculous. God is not stingy with His good gifts and there is more than enough for everyone. The person who takes the title of "pastor" but is distributing good advice rather than God's good gifts in Word and sacrament is not a pastor at all. He is not carrying out the work of God but the work of man and leading people to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and to death.

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