SERMON TITLE: “Jesus 101: Jesus & the Multitudes”
SERMON TEXT: Mark 6:30-44
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: September 23, 2018, at First UMC
Thanks to all of you who participated in our Hometown Mission Week! We did good work in our community! Some worked with animals, the Nature Center, or cleanup of Marriott-Slaterville. Some did tutoring work at Pioneer Elementary, and others participated in the Farmer’s Market at the Veterans Home. The largest numbers of us were deployed and engaged in some kind of food-based ministry. Many of you have donated food that you’ve placed in the narthex. Some served meals at the St. Anne’s Kitchen at the Lantern House homeless shelter. Some provided a dinner at the Family Promise Center last night. And, a few days this week, we had volunteers working at the Catholic Community Services Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank.
While I was at the food bank on Tuesday, I learned more about the two programs to help feed school-aged kids over weekends and holidays, when the children don’t have access to free breakfasts and lunches at school. One of those programs is “Stop the Gap,” which is basically a food pantry set-up in the schools, so that the students can do some free shopping for groceries to take home to their families. The “Stop the Gap” program is provided in those schools where the percentage of impoverished children is so high that it makes sense to provide food for all the students.
In other schools, where a smaller percentage of the students live in poverty, the food bank offers a different program called “Pantry Packs.” Since only a small number of those students need food, there’s the danger of social stigma. So, the more discreet “Pantry Pack” method is used because those foods, already assembled in a gallon zip lock bag, can easily be slipped into a student’s backpack when none of the other kids are watching.
These carefully-strategized ministries of feeding the poor and hungry go well with our gospel reading for today. Ever since the beginning of August, we’ve been making our way through the Gospel of Mark and reviewing the basics about Jesus. In this “Jesus 101” series, we’ve already learned about Jesus & the Gospel, Jesus & Healing, Jesus & the Law, Jesus & Vocation, Jesus & Teaching, and Jesus & Water. Today, we’re going at this from the angle of “Jesus & the Multitudes.”