Biblical Text: Matthew 14:13-21

Do we go out to the desert anymore? I don’t think so. I think we do everything in our power to avoid time in the desert. Of course we just end up in a desert of distraction then. That’s part of the meditation on the familiar passage of the feeding of the 5000. This sermon is a meditation on the abundance that God provides and the ways in which He provides it. It looks at three images from the scene: the location, the rarely provided inner thoughts of Jesus, and the provision of abundance.

I’ve learned over the years that trying to grade sermons is impossible. Oh, you can grade them as pieces of rhetoric, but then they aren’t just pieces of rhetoric. Your worst sermon I guarantee is the one someone walked out with their lives changed. It isn’t you. Whatever scraps you brought the Spirit worked. I’ve come to two ways of thinking about grading. The first is preaching intent crossed with baseball. The every Sunday preacher has a variety of things they have to do. Not everything is going to be a homerun. Sometimes you climb into the pulpit with the intention of a single, of moving along the runners. (This is usually a teaching sermon.) Some weeks the text is obscure enough that getting a walk is good. And some weeks you better get that extra-base hit. Of course, like in baseball, unless you are Barry Bonds on PED’s, you might not get on base. And the reception in the congregation is probably everything from HR to K. The second thing is always did you find the core of emotion in the text. If you didn’t the best you’ve got is a walk. I say all that merely to say, I liked this one. I think it is workman-like as a piece of rhetoric. There is only one phrase that feels more than average and even then it is probably one of those darlings that you are supposed to kill. But as a sermon, it touches the bases.

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