This Sunday’s Gospel lesson is one of five Gospel stories featuring Jesus feeding the crowds who had gathered around him, clamoring to be seen by him, to touch the hem of his garment, to listen to his words. The crowd yearned to be healed of physical troubles and emotional pain; they longed to know their wholeness mattered to God; they hungered for connection with the Holy.
Jesus knows the hungers of the world – far better than any one of us can individually. When I hear the story of Jesus feeding the multitudes, I associate it with the resurrected Jesus encountering Peter (after whom our community is named) on the beach telling Peter three times, three times (!) to feed Jesus’ sheep.
Feeding people. Perhaps this is one of the most fundamental ways to follow Jesus. In our neighborhood, St. Peter’s feeds people with all sorts of hungers.
We feed people with empty stomachs by collecting food every day in the red barrels in the Gallery for our local food pantry; through teams that prepare lunch at the Urban Ministry Center; we provide hot meals and warm cots for homeless neighbors one night a week through our Room in the Inn teams; we grow healthy food for seniors in need through our Community Garden on Eighth Street.
We feed our minds through the Formation programs that have been offered through the summer, especially the Summer Reconciliation Film Series, the last film of which will be shown on August 10 at 4:00 p.m. We feed the curiosity of our children through our Vacation Bible School “Pilgrimage” beginning Monday, August 4. And we will be offering much more nutrition along these lines in the Fall!
We feed our spirits through offering the Eucharist Tuesdays and Thursdays at Noon, Sundays at 8:00 a.m., 10:45 a.m. and 6:15 p.m. and through Morning Prayer, offered Monday – Friday, now at 7:30 a.m. but moving to 8:00 a.m.; and through our various music ministries.
Whatever you hunger for, come to the table. There is always room for you, and there will always be more than enough… because Jesus is our host.
— The Reverend Joslyn Ogden Schaefer, Associate Rector