Pentecost 19 “Feasting in a Famine”
October 11th, 2020 Isaiah 25:6-9
Grace, mercy, and peace be given to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
We are in a famine. “What famine?” you say. You look around and see all the food we have in the grocery stores. You look around and see the crops coming in nicely right now. What famine? A different kind of famine – a famine of the Word, a famine of Happiness, a famine of Life.
There is evidence we can see that tells us we are in these famines. For example, we can tell we are in a famine of the Word right now by the size of churches which are shrinking. Less and less people are coming and giving themselves to God and the Church compared to the recent past. Old people keep on dying. Excuse after excuse is made for people’s absence. It is an unhealthy pattern. We can see how this pattern, how this famine of the Word, negatively affects people’s lives.
This past month, September, was suicide awareness month. Yes, a whole month. It used to be thought that September saw a spike in suicides which led it to be the month to work to prevent it. Sadly, suicide rates spike randomly all throughout the year. According to the WHO someone around the globe dies by suicide every 40 seconds. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Canadians under 25 years old. Young people, people who aren’t raised with community, belonging – who are not raised with the church – when life hits them they are led to despair. They are in a famine of God’s love and community and they despair.
It is not like God’s community is immune; though. It is easy enough for us to despair simply thinking of all the people who do not know Jesus. There is a famine of God’s Word in the world – especially in our own neighbourhoods, our own backyards.
If this was not apparent already, we are in a famine of happiness. If we take a step back from suicide, there are plenty of people caught in depression. Plenty of people are in constant anxiety and cannot seem to find relief. Rates of depression and anxiety during COVID certainly have not gone down either. People are not happy. Sex, drugs, alcohol are all just gods we go to worship who are empty and do not offer real happiness. People lash out at each other when they are not happy like a dog who is hurt and backed into a corner.
And, of course, people are in a famine of “Life”. We want life so desperately, and all we can seem to find is death. We get injured. We get sick. We get the diagnosis we never wanted to hear. We still hurt. The list of people on my desk needing grief care is getting higher and higher. People still mourn. People still die. We want life so badly but all we get is a famine.
In a Famine How Can You Feast?
If you spotted the title of this sermon today, “Feasting in a Famine” you’ll be asking yourself right about now “in a famine how can we feast?” A famine is where there is a shortage of the thing you need. A feast is what you have only when there is an excess.
Every day you get hungry… for food… and you eat.
Every day you also get hungry for Life & Happiness.
Child of God, when you get hungry for Life and Happiness, what do YOU do?………
Maybe you eat pop & cheezies for that kind of hunger, too. 😉
Every day you get hungry for life and happiness. I know. Sometimes the hunger for happiness can even outweigh the hunger for life. But, Life and Happiness are ONLY FOUND in God’s Word. Feast on His Rich, Full, Word in this famine.
You say, “I’m getting old and scared of dying” (Nothing else on earth has a response)
God says in Is. 25 “I will swallow up death forever.” & “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me.” Ps. 23 (Have a bite. Every time you get hungry.)
You say “I loved them. They died. I miss them and it hurts.”
God says Is. 25 “I will wipe away tears from all faces.” “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” John 10:10.
You say “Everything is going wrong. I’m scared.”
God tells us in Phil. 4 “Rejoice! The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything.”
You say, “I feel so alone…”
God says “talk to me… about everything “through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to me.” (He even teaches us a prayer.)
So many people do not know Jesus – and they can despair. Kids? Grandkids? Spouses? God mourns with us and says, “Go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them and teaching them about Jesus – and I am coming with you.”
You say “Jesus loves you & died for you & lives in Heaven!” & People, hardened from the famines, say “prove it!” They say prove that these words can be trusted.
So you can tell them to read the collected eyewitness accounts. Look at the evidence. Read the preserved history.
Go to church on Sunday morning and look at His body!
Look at the evidence. The evidence of the people He has gathered together, as His body on earth, thousands of years after His time on earth – gathered together around His Word and Mysteries.
See the Holy Spirit at work in God’s people. See the good they do. See the sacrifices they make.
You can tell people and leave them in God’s very capable hands. He loves the world (John 3:16) and he does not want to lose anyone to despair but to come to Him in repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
Are you hungry for happiness? Are you hungry for life? Are you hungry for His Word? There is no shortage of His Word among us and it satisfies your hunger.
Feast during this famine on the food only God can provide. On His Word and Mysteries – even His very own body and blood.
One day, we will feast with Him in all ways with all things in paradise.