Our August 8 Sunday worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook. We are excited to say that our Sunday 8 & 10:30 am services are open again for in-person worship. Services will continue to be streamed online.
The August 15 Sunday worship service will be held with in-person attendance. We have returned to regular in-person worship services. With an upturn in county COVID cases, we recommend masks even for those who are vaccinated.
We are glad to share our worship with you. Click on “Contact Us” above to find out more about our faith family and what we believe.
1 Kings 19:4-8 | Psalm 34:1-8
Ephesians 4:25-5:2 | John 6:35, 41-51
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Good words! Well, to us, they are good words, but notice for the Jews who heard these words, they weren’t. The text tells us that they “complained.” Actually, the Greek says that they “murmured at him.” What a lovely word, “murmur.” We don’t use that word much anymore, except perhaps when we talk about someone with a heart murmur. It means, to “make a low continuous sound, complain in a subdued way.” Yes, I looked it up, just to be sure. Notice, it is continuous, low, but subdued, kind of like background noise. We actually hear murmuring a lot, often when something we like changes a bit. When they changed the recipe for Coca-Cola, remember that, there was murmuring. Personally, I liked the taste of the original Doctor Pepper. Then they changed it about 50 years ago. I still murmur about it, Even though I don’t drink sodas anymore. But sometimes, we murmur for other things, more important things.
There has been a lot of murmuring lately. We can blame the pandemic. Although, it seems that people prefer to blame politicians who are in power, regardless of who. Why don’t we blame the coronavirus? That is the problem. And people complain about how to deal with the virus. They murmur about masks, and mask mandates. Well, if they help keep people from being infected and possibly dying, what is the problem? “It interferes with my personal freedom.” That is a strange argument. Basically it means that it is okay to not wear a mask and risk getting infected, or infect someone else. That is terribly selfish. And, if you read St. Augustine, for him selfishness was the very definition of sinfulness. People murmur about getting vaccinated, largely thanks to misinformation. This week, I watched a video of a press conference by the governor of Arkansas on the subject. Realize, Arkansas has about the lowest vaccination rate of any of the 50 states. There was some guy in the back, who looked like he should be on Duck Dynasty, who said that he wouldn’t get the vaccination until the governor told him what was in it! Looking at the guy, I seriously doubt that he would have even understood the answer to his own question! I actually felt sorry for Gov. Hutchison. And that is something that I never thought that I would ever say.
It reminds me of the story who had a tremendous relationship with God. Where he lived a terrible flood happened. He had to move to the upper levels of his home to avoid the water that seeped in. Finally, he climbed out on the roof, to the very peak. Some people in a boat came by, and said, “Get in. We will take you to safety.” And he said, “No, God will save me.” So, they went off. A little while later, a helicopter flew over, and lowered down a line to save him. Again he refused, “No. God will save me.” The water continued to rise, and he drowned. When his soul got to heaven, he went directly to the throne of God, very upset. He confronted God, “I waited for you to save me. And I died.” God looked down from his heavenly throne and said, “I sent you a boat and a helicopter.”
In this health crisis, the masks help. It is a fact. The vaccines work. It is a fact. They work better than was even hoped. It is a fact. The vaccines are safer than could have been hoped for. It is a fact. All that people have to do is get into the boat or the helicopter. But, some people just want to murmur. I’ve come to call them lemmings. Lemmings are those cute little rodents that live in Ireland, and periodically they all get together and for some unknown reason, and gleefully run off of a cliff into the sea. I’ve always thought that they should be a major candidate for the Darwin Awards. But, as fast as this new variant is supposed to spread, it may well be too late to get vaccinated in time.
Murmuring, the Jews are murmuring following the Feeding of the 5,000, not for the free, heavenly meal. No, they are murmuring because Jesus claims that he has come down from heaven, and a fair portion of them seem to know Joseph and Mary. They don’t seem to know anything about the Virgin Birth, but I doubt that Joseph and Mary brought that up very often during dinner conversation. “How can he claim that he comes from heaven?” “How can he claim to do the things of God? Give us something better than Manna? Claims beyond Moses! Claim to even give eternal life, and raise from death those who believe in him?!” If you want to look at it from their point of view, they had a good cause to murmur. These things were all outside of their realm of reason, probably like the guy who wanted to know what was in the vaccine. They have never heard anything like this before in their lives!
BUT, he is telling them the truth! He is sent from God. He is the only one who has seen the Father, because he is the Son. He is the one who can give eternal life. He is the Messiah; the Feeding of the 5,000 proves that. Remember from two weeks ago? That is the proof text miracle, The Sign of the Messiah. But the only way to know that is by faith; “Those to whom the Father had given faith.”
As they gather around him, most of them are not gathered in faith. They have come to hear what he has to say. They were astounded by his teachings, and will continue to be so. They were no doubt thunderstruck by the feeding of the 5,000, from a couple of barley loaves and fish, with 12 baskets of leftovers to boot. But, these words almost leave them speechless, hence the murmuring, continuous murmuring.
That is an advantage which we have over those who were present at these events. We are gathered in faith. The Father has drawn us to Christ. In many and various ways, we have been taught by God, led by the Holy Spirit. And we have come in faith to know and proclaim that Jesus Christ is the “living bread that came down from heaven.” That he did give his flesh for the life of the world: And that when we gather around his altar, and there receive his body and blood in the bread and the wine, we receive the gift and the promise of eternal life. That truly is the Gospel. That silences all the din of murmur. It leaves us only with praise and thanksgiving for the gifts of grace received from God.