Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. (Matthew 14:13-14) This verse was part of our Gospel lesson this past Sunday. After Jesus healed the sick who came to him, he instructed his disciples to feed the 10,000+ people gathered there in the wilderness. This is one of the best-known miracles of Jesus and it's good to hear it over and over and ponder its meaning. When I encountered the story this time, something stood out that I had never thought of before. When Jesus told the disciples to feed the people, they dug in their pockets and bags and came up with 5 loaves of bread (which would have been about palm-sized and flat) and two fish. This wasn't enough to feed the 13 (the 12 plus Jesus), not to mention the crowd! The ones who were handing out the food needed Jesus just as much as those being fed. That's food for thought. (There's more on this parable in the attached sermon.)
Both Zion and St. Mark will have congregational meetings following worship on August 17, for the purpose of voting on a new estimate for eradicating bamboo in the yard adjoining the parsonage property. The first estimate was for about $2500 and involved spraying chemicals on the bamboo in the neighbor's yard, digging up the dead plants and installing a metal barrier between the parsonage yard and the neighbor's. This estimate was approved by both congregations weeks ago. Since then, the neighbor has decided she does not want the chemicals sprayed on her yard. We have been advised by an attorney not to spray and to find another way to get rid of the bamboo. We have a second estimate that involves using a backhoe to remove the bamboo shoots and topsoil, then install a barrier without herbicide and refill the yard with new topsoil. This estimate totals about $4200. The buyers of the parsonage have said they will not close on the house until the bamboo issue is resolved, so the closing has been postponed pending the outcome of the congregational votes. If you have any questions about all this, please speak with a council member. They all know a lot more about bamboo than they used to!
Mark your calendar for St. Mark's Homecoming service on Sunday, August 24 at 10:30 am. We will have a joint service, followed by a potluck lunch.
Many of our community are returning to school in the coming days. Please bring backpacks and bookbags to worship this Sunday and we will bless them.
Let us remember teachers and students in prayer as they resume the joys and challenges of learning.
A Student's Prayer for a New School Year
Lord Jesus, I ask for Your help as I begin this new school year.
Allow me to experience Your presence in the many blessings You put before me.
Open my eyes to the new challenges and exciting opportunities that this new school year brings.
Help me be excited about my studies and my new teachers.
Thank you for the new friends I will meet.
Jesus, inspire me to do my best this year!
Help me to be a fine teacher, to keep peace in the classroom, peace between my students and myself, to be kind and gentle to each and every one of my students. Help me to balance mercy and discipline in the right measure for each student, to give genuine praise as much as possible, to give constructive criticism in a manner that is helpful to my students. Help me to keep my lessons always interesting, to recognize what motivates each of my students, to accept my students' limitations and not hold it against them. Help me not to judge my students too harshly, to be fair to all, to be a good role model, but most of all Lord help me to show your love to all of my students.
Yours in Christ,