In Matthew 14, we find a gruesome story about Herod Antipas’s decision to behead John the Baptist and let his daughter take the head on a platter to her mother, Herod’s wife. One commentary labelled this account, “The Empire Strikes Back”. Herod does seem like a “Darth Vader” here as he personifies all that a ruler serving evil powers of this world and with no fear of God is capable of doing.
In the next pericope, we learn that Jesus who is still in Galilee, after hearing about John’s fate, decides to retreat into a deserted place so that he can be by himself for a while. Crowds soon follow, many clamoring for healing. Jesus has compassion on those who need healing and cures them. By the end of the day, it is evident that many people are hungry. Jesus’s disciples suggest to Jesus that he send these people away into the towns to buy food for themselves. The miraculous feeding of the five thousand soon follows.
As we prepare for Holy Communion this Sunday, reflect on the contrast between Herod Antipas as the Ruler who delivers death to one of God’s prophets and then serves his head on a platter, and Jesus as Lord of Life who heals people in need and also finds a way to satisfy their hunger, even though resources available - a few loaves and fishes - seem too meager at first to accomplish the job at hand.
Ever since, we Christians have counted on Jesus as the one who wields both God’s gracious will and the loving power to satisfy the hungry hearts of all.
May our prayer be:
Be present at OUR table, Lord.
Be here and everywhere adored.
Thy people bless and grant that we
May feast in Fellowship with thee.
The Rev. Ashley Allen, Associate Minister of Floris UMC, Herndon will be our guest preacher on August 10th.
Ashley Allen serves as the Student Ministry Program Director for Floris United Methodist Church. Ashley grew up in Virginia but has lived in Florida, London, and New York where she pursued a career in musical theatre. Ashley holds a BA degree in musical theatre but left the theatre in 2006 when she received a call to ministry. Ashley received her Master in Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. in 2013. Ashley has called Floris UMC her church home for four years now and was overjoyed to join the staff in March of 2011. - See more at: http://www.florisumc.org/directory#.dpuf
Come to Bruen Chapel on August 10th to hear Ashley. Let’s show her what a warm welcome our small congregation can give!
Whether you are an officially elected leader, or just want to be involved, stay after worship for light lunch and a Fall 2014 through December 15 vision and planning meeting. There are a number of smaller ideas and a couple of big potential “future directions” for our church to consider.
Schools are out for the summer and many families travel, but hunger never goes on vacation - even in affluent Fairfax County.
We support “Food for Others” through on ongoing effort to collect packaged and canned foods that can be distributed to those in need. We also accept donations of cash that our designated shoppers use to buy quantities of staple foods (identified by Food for Others as ‘top priority’).
At this point in the summer, we also are beginning to collect school supplies for children who will need them as they go back to school in 6 weeks. Take advantage of the upcoming Virginia sales tax holiday and buy just one small thing a needy student can use or buy a backpack and fill it with lots of things. Another alternative - make a cash donation and help one of our “back to school” shoppers fill a backpack or whole shopping cart full of needed supplies.
Youth are invited to participate in this Wednesday evening, “Jesus and Java” Youth Bible Study sponsored by our Arlington and Alexandria Districts.
** Jesus & Java (J & J) “Romans & Milkshakes” Summer Bible Study for all Youth, Friendship UMC, 7:00-8:30 PM, runs Wednesdays beginning July 2 and finishing Aug. 27. Come any time and join in, every week or whenever you can! All are welcome! Contact Jim Harrington to RSVP (because having enough milkshake supplies is important!)
Friendship UMC is on Gallows Road; if you are traveling from Arlington Blvd (50), it is about 3/4 mile south of Fairfax Hospital and on the left.
Friendship UMC Contact Info: Phone 703 560-5454. E-mail Address friendshipUMC@vacoxmail.com. Leave messages for Jim there.