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John 6,1-21

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TITLE:     Subtraction and Multiplication

SERMON IN A SENTENCE:    Absent from God, we live a "subtraction,"
win-lose life, but God's providence expands possibilities so that we can
live a "multiplication," win-win life.

SCRIPTURE:    John 6:1-21  

EXEGESIS:    

 SERMON:    

The English church leader John Henry Newman once said, "I read my Bible to know what people ought to do and my newspaper to know what they are doing." What today's newspaper says people are doing and what today's Gospel says people ought to do: may we consider them both this morning. In the Name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

News reports and columns and editorials have appeared from time to time about violence in youth sports. [See "Dads turn child's play into blood sport," USA Today, July 14, 2000. This article is the source for the following three paragraphs and the subsequent quotes from an editorial and two columnists.]

This is not violence committed by young athletes. The perpetrators are not children, but their parents.

And so we hear that the National Association of Sports Officials now offers assault insurance to youth league referees and umpires.

And so we hear that more than a dozen states have made it a crime to assault youth league coaches and officials, and that still more states may follow.

And so we hear that in Boston two fathers quarreled at a youth hockey game, ironically over whether the game had become too rough. Their quarrel in front of players and spectators turned into a fight, and one of these men, the single parent of four children, died later from his injuries.

In the face of this horror, we are left for a moment speechless. Then the newspapers that report the tragedy also supply words to shape our reaction.

"It's too bad that so many adults have forgotten such an intrinsic fact about sports, something they certainly could learn from their children: it's only a game." So editorializes the Las Vegas Sun.

"Parents of children in youth sports should back off. They are taking out big-league frustrations on little-league children and officials." So advises columnist Jan Jacobi in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"People who might previously have viewed sports as little more than extracurricular activities are buying into the more serious notion of sports as a metaphor for success." So observes Bob Katz, a columnist in the New York Times.

Only a tiny fraction of parents engage in this behavior. Yet we cannot brush it off with remarks about percentages. The problem is not confined to a few deviants. This is a social issue, something in which all of us, even the most peaceful, somehow share. The Las Vegas Sun is correct in observing: "there has been a coarsening in our society, which includes how
fans behave at all sporting events."

A coarsening in our society. And as Katz, the New York Times columnist, notes, people are buying into the notion of sports as a metaphor for success. Or to put it differently, we are seeing the results of a spirituality of subtraction.

The problem is not really sports or players or parents. The problem appears when any of us extends the doctrine of sports beyond the make-believe world of the football field, the hockey rink, the basketball court, and applies it to real life. Then we may find ourselves trapped in
a spirituality of subtraction.

In competitive sports, somebody wins and somebody loses. If I win, then you cannot, and vice versa. Thus a principle of subtraction is at work: one of us takes victory away from the other. Within the confines of the game this may be tolerable. After all, as we say, "It's only a game."

This may be tolerable, as I said, within the confines of the game. For the game is removed from real life. The rules of the sport are clear and we keep to them, thanks to umpires and referees. There's a time limit on the contest, and afterward we all go back to the complexities of real life.

Children recognize this fantasy for what it is. For them, someone who played on the opposing team just a moment ago is naturally accepted back to the real-life status of friend, and there are no hard feelings.

But what may happen with adults is that we see the activities of real life as though they were a game, a win-lose contest, where winning is not the most important thing, but the only thing.

So the problem is not simply a couple of brawling hockey dads in Boston who think that a game is real life. The problem includes lawyers and doctors and politicians and business people and spouses who think that real life is a game, and play ruthlessly to win. The problem is their firm belief that life is a win-lose proposition. They're scared stiff of losing. Their inflated egos are on the line. They don't want to be trounced.

But whether or not they are trounced, already they are trapped in a spirituality of subtraction. Life for them is a win-lose proposition, and they'll do their darndest not to be left with the short end of the stick.

So much for the newspaper. Now to the Gospel. What's Jesus up to this time?

Without selling tickets, he's attracted a crowd big enough to fill a sports stadium. These people are getting hungry, and there's not a restaurant in sight.

The disciples are not especially helpful. Jesus asks Philip how they are to buy enough bread for these people, and all Philip says is that even a worker's wages for a year would not be enough to pay for such a picnic. Andrew does a little better. He brings forward a boy who has five barley loaves and two fish, then dismisses this food as too little for too many.

Jesus refuses to be deterred. The crowd is told to sit down. Jesus takes the boy's gift, gives thanks for it, and distributes it. Somehow it's enough for everybody, and produces more leftovers than anyone wants to take home.

We speak of this as the multiplication of loaves and fishes. It's more than a neat miracle. It's a way of life. What happens on that hillside is an indication of how God wants the world to operate. Everybody wins. Nobody loses. Call it a win-win situation. Call it the best picnic ever. Call it a spirituality of multiplication. When we give away what we have, when we sacrifice even out of our scarcity, then God blesses our gifts and multiplies them, and there's enough for everybody and even more.

A spirituality of subtraction leads to a bunch of ugly results. Not only a dead hockey dad, but corrupt politics, unscrupulous businesses, broken homes, and broken hearts. It's a lie to say that life must be a win-lose game.

A spirituality of multiplication leads to very different results. The hungry are fed, relationships are restored, people feel good about themselves and their neighbors. Life's not a battle. It's a win-win game.

I call it a choice between a spirituality of subtraction and a spirituality of multiplication. A more traditional way to put it is that we can be citizens of a world organized against God or we can be citizens of God's commonwealth.

We're here this morning to practice and reinforce our participation in the commonwealth of God. In the midst of a world that's going crazy and seeing everything as win-lose, subtraction spirituality, we're here to sing songs and pray prayers that have everything to do with a win-win world, multiplication spirituality. For Christ comes among us today in his word, in our community life, and in Bread and Wine. Everybody who wants to can leave here with a blessing.

What we're about this morning is another wilderness picnic! There will be more than enough Christ for everybody this morning. There will be plenty of Bread, plenty of Wine, enough to turn each of us into an agent of Christ, shining with the light of love wherever we happen to go this week.


 


CHAPTER 6:   GALILEE, JERUSALEM, GALILEE, JERUSALEM

The end of chapter 4 finds Jesus in Galilee.  Chapter 5 moves to
Jerusalem.  Chapter 6 (our reading for this week) moves back to Galilee.
In chapter 7 Jesus returns to Jerusalem.  It would simplify the geography
to put chapter 6 between chapters 4 and 5, but this author is more
concerned with theology than geography.  Jerusalem will be the place of
Jesus' death during a subsequent Passover.  There he will break bread with
the disciples in the Upper Room, temporarily closeted away from his
enemies.  Here, at Passover, far from Jerusalem, he will break bread with
thousands on a mountaintop.

This week's Gospel lesson includes two stories.  The first (vv. 1-15)
recounts the feeding of the five thousand.  The second, (vv. 16-21) tells
of Jesus walking on water.


VERSES  1-4:   JESUS WENT UP THE MOUNTAIN AND SAT DOWN

1After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also
called the Sea of Tiberias. 2A large crowd kept following him, because
they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. 3Jesus went up the
mountain and sat down there with his disciples. 4Now the Passover, the
festival of the Jews, was near.

John notes that the Sea of Galilee is also known as the Sea of Tiberius, a
name found in the Gospels only here and at 21:1.

A large crowd follows Jesus, because "they saw the signs that he was doing
for the sick" (v. 2).  The words "sign" and "signs" are important in this
Gospel, occurring 17 times.  A sign is "something that points to, or
represents, something larger or more important than itself....  In the New
Testament, ...signs point primarily to the powerful, saving activity of
God as experienced  through the ministry of Jesus and the apostles"
(Lockyer, 991).  "Miraculous 'signs' as a source of faith play an
important part in the gospel of John (cf. John 20:30).  The positive and
correct reaction of the people to Jesus' signs is recorded (6:2, 14; 7:31;
10:41-42; 12:18-19).  But, even in John, Jesus retains a skeptical
assessment of faith induced by signs (2:23-25; 4:48) and attempts to point
beyond the signs to the demands and promises of his message (3:2-3;
6:26-27, 35-40)" (Myers, 949).

"Jesus went up the mountain" (v. 3).  These words signal that something
important is about to happen.  Mountains are places where God and God's
will are revealed -- where God gave the Torah to Moses (Exod. 19) -- where
God defeated the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18) -- where Jesus gave his
greatest sermon (Matt. 5-7) -- and where he is transfigured (Matt. 17;
Mark 9; Luke 9).

This reference to the mountain is the first of a series of a series of
Exodus/Moses images in this chapter.  Others include the mention of the
Passover (v. 4), God's provision of bread (manna) (v. 11), the gathering
of the fragments (v. 12), the mention of manna (vv. 31-32, 49-50), and the
mention of "the bread that came down from heaven" (v. 58).  Jesus is like
Moses, but greater than Moses.

"Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near" (v. 4).  The
mention of the Passover is another signal that something important is
happening.  This Gospel records the events of three Passovers:

-- The first was in Jerusalem, where Jesus cleansed the temple at Passover
(2:13-25).  While in the Synoptics, the cleansing takes place near the end
of Jesus' ministry, this Gospel reports it as taking place immediately
after the first of Jesus' signs -- a miracle of abundance, the making wine
from water at the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee (2:1-11).

-- Now, at Jesus' second Passover, we have another miracle of abundance,
the feeding of the five thousand (6:1-14), a miracle like unto God's
abundant gift of manna in the wilderness -- a linkage that Jesus will make
clear in the Bread of Life discourse (6:22-40) that follows the feeding of
the five thousand.

-- The story of Jesus' third Passover requires eight chapters for its
telling (11:55 - 19:42), and involves the events that lead up to Jesus'
crucifixion as well as the crucifixion itself.  Passover celebrates the
Exodus, with the Passover lamb commemorating the salvation of the
Israelites from the death angel.  In this Gospel, Jesus is "the Lamb of
God who takes away the sins of the world" (1:29, 36 -- see also 1 Cor.
5:7; 1 Peter 1:18; Rev. 5:12).  Just as the Passover lamb saved the lives
of the Israelites, so the Lamb of God has come into the world "so that
everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life"
(3:16).


VERSES  5-14:   THE FEEDING OF THE FIVE THOUSAND

5When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to
Philip, "Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?" 6He said this
to test (Greek: peirazon) him, for he himself knew what he was going to
do. 7Philip answered him, "Six months' wages would not buy enough bread
for each of them to get a little." 8One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon
Peter's brother, said to him, 9"There is a boy here who has five barley
loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?" 10Jesus
said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was a great deal of grass in
the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. 11Then Jesus took
the loaves, and when he had given thanks (Greek: eucharistesas), he
distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as
they wanted. 12When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, "Gather up
the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost." 13So they gathered
them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those
who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. 14When the people saw the sign
that he had done, they began to say, "This is indeed the prophet who is to
come into the world (Greek:  erchomenos eis ton kosmon)."

Unlike the Synoptics (Matt. 14:14; Mark 6:34; 8:2), this Gospel does not
mention Jesus' compassion for the crowds, who are like sheep without a
shepherd.  In this Gospel, this story has to do with faith in Jesus rather
than his compassion.

Jesus addresses his question, "Where are we to buy bread?" to Philip,
whose home is in nearby Bethsaida (1:44).  If anyone would know where to
purchase bread locally, Philip should know.  John notes that Jesus asks
this question to test (Greek: peirozon) Philip.  Peirazon can mean "to
examine" or "to tempt."  The examiner hopes that the student will pass the
test, while the tempter hopes that the student will fail.  Jesus is an
examiner here -- hoping to find in Philip a man of faith.

Philip responds by pointing out the obvious difficulty.  "Six month's
wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little" (v. 7).
 The Greek says "diakosion denarion" -- "two hundred denarii.  A denarius
is a day's wages for a working man, so two hundred denarii represents at
least six month's wages -- a capital sum that would seem enormous to a man
like Philip.  Who can put their hands on that kind of money on the spur of
the moment?

Philip might go even further by pointing out the logistical problems
associated with the procurement and transportation of such a large
quantity of bread.  Even if they could take an offering and collect
sufficient funds, they could hardly expect to find bread already baked in
sufficient quantities to feed thousands of people.  How many ovens would
be required?  How many bakers?  How much flour?  How long would it take
for the dough to rise?  To bake?  How would they transport thousands of
loaves of bread?  What about water?  One can hardly eat bread without also
drinking water.

Andrew makes a feeble stab at a solution.  "There is a boy here who has
five barley loaves and two fish" (v. 9).  But then he joins Philip in his
pessimism by saying, "But what are they among so many people?" (v. 9).
Both Philip and Andrew help us to understand the magnitude of the miracle
that is coming by stressing the obvious difficulties.

"There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish."  Barley
bread is an inferior bread eaten by poor people.  The fish are likely
small -- a side-dish for the bread, which is the main course.  The barley
loaves recall Elisha's miraculous feeding of one hundred people with an
inadequate supply of barley loaves -- but some was left over (2 Kings
4:42-44).  The mention here of barley loaves and leftovers is surely
intended to bring that story to mind.

This is all that the Gospels have to say about this boy (the Synoptics
don't even mention him).  The boy is an unlikely candidate to save the
day, just as the shepherd-boy, David, was an unlikely opponent for Goliath
many years earlier.  His pitiful offering is as inadequate as was David's
sling.  The boy has little to offer, but he offers that little bit.  Jesus
will transform that little bit into more-than-enough.

What if the boy were unwilling to share his lunch?  What if he were to
say, "I need this for myself" -- or "My little bit won't make any
difference"?  "In the parable of the talents our Lord makes it plain
that... it is the one-talent people who are most likely to falter and fail
him; and this on the ground that anything they could do is so trivial as
to be not worth doing....  That, says Christ, is a fallacy that has
disastrous consequences" (Gossip, 555).  "There would have been one great
and shining deed fewer in history if that boy had refused to come or if he
had withheld his loaves and fishes.  The fact of life is that Jesus Christ
needs what we can bring Him.  We may not have much to bring but He needs
what we have" (Barclay, 207).

Jesus tells the disciples to have the people sit down, "so they sat down,
about five thousand in all" (v. 10).  This might be intended to signal the
crowd to prepare for lunch.  If so, it is a bold gesture for a man with so
many mouths to feed and so little food.  The count would include only men,
so the total crowd would be larger, probably much larger.  Matt. 14:21
makes this explicit.

"Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks (Greek:
eucharistesas), he distributed them to those who were seated" (v. 11).
"At this point in the story, (the word eucharistesas) carries little
meaning beyond its obvious sense of giving thanks to God....  But as the
chapter unfolds, the term will take on a particular meaning for the
Johannine community and its audience" (Howard-Brook, 145). The traditional
prayer of thanksgiving is "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the
universe, who bringest forth bread from the earth" (Carson, 270).  It
expresses, not a blessing of food, but thanks to God.

In the Synoptics, the disciples distribute the bread, but in this Gospel,
Jesus does it.  "Jesus' actions do not reflect the more liturgically
stylized actions of the synoptic accounts (e.g., Mark 6:41; Luke 9:16),
but rather reflect the actions of a host at a Jewish meal" (O'Day, 594).
The emphasis is less clearly eucharistic in this Gospel than in the
Synoptics.

The people eat their fill (v. 12) -- not just a token amount as some
scholars have suggested -- nor is this a lesson in sharing, as others have
suggested.  This is not a story of a young boy who sets an example of
generosity so that everyone in the crowd begins to share their food --
which turns out to be adequate for the occasion.  This is a story -- one
of many in both Old and New Testaments -- about God's/Jesus' ability to
transform too little into more than enough.

Attempts to explain this story by rationalistic or humanistic
interpretations only diminish it -- shrinking the miracle to fit our small
vision instead of expanding our vision to see God's majesty.  We must ask
why some interpreters find it possible to believe in the miracle of the
resurrection but not the miracle of the loaves and fishes -- and if they
do not believe in the miracle of the resurrection, can we trust them to be
faithful spiritual guides?

Jesus commands, "Gather up the fragments left over, so nothing may be
lost" (v. 12).  This is somewhat different from the Exodus account, where
God commanded the Israelites to gather the manna but not to keep it until
the next day (Exod. 16:16-21).  The emphasis there was the faithfulness of
God's providence, while the emphasis here is the abundance of God's
providence.  Jesus makes no mention of gathering only what is needed for
the day.  The twelve baskets of leftovers are more food than that with
which Jesus started -- one basket each for the twelve tribes of Israel.
The supply is abundant. God provides plenty to meet our needs -- but
nothing to waste.

Seeing the miracle, the people say, "This is indeed the prophet who is to
come into the world" (v. 14).  This apparently refers to Moses' promise,
"The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your
own people; you shall heed such a prophet" (Deut. 18:15).  "In Greek, the
phrase is the same as the description of the as yet unnamed Jesus in the
prologue (1:9):  'The true light was coming into the world' (erchomenos[n]
eis ton kosmon).  It is John's way of speaking of the advent of Jesus"
(Smith, 149).


VERSE 15:  JESUS WITHDREW AGAIN TO THE MOUNTAIN BY HIMSELF

15When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force
to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

The crowd wants to institutionalize Jesus' role as provider and deliverer.
 Having seen power at work, they want to harness it for their own
purposes.  "If this was the second Moses, he would surely do for them what
the first Moses had done for their ancestors and deliver them from
oppression" (Bruce, 146).

While the crowd's response is natural enough, it makes too little of
Jesus, whom they wish to claim as their own personal genie.  Their
response "reverses the answer to the catechism question so that it would
read, 'Our chief end is to be glorified by God forever" (Brueggemann,
446).

Jesus, seeing that they are about to make him king by force, withdraws.
He has a ministry to fulfill, but not the one that these people envision.
To become the king that they desire would shrink his ministry from the
world (3:16) to the eastern end of the Mediterranean -- from all of
history to a generation or two -- from a giver of eternal life to a giver
of temporal security.

And to become their king would expose Jesus to a justifiable charge of
treason, legitimizing his execution as a criminal.  No longer would he be
the innocent lamb dying for the sins of the world, but he would instead
die as a rightfully convicted felon.

There is "much of St. John's irony in the passage; He who is already King
has come to open His kingdom to men; but in their blindness men try to
force Him to be the kind of king they want; thus they fail to get the king
they want, and also lose the kingdom He offers" (R.F. Bailey, Saint John's
Gospel, quoted in Morris, 307).


VERSES  16-21:   THEY SAW JESUS WALKING ON THE SEA

16When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17got into a
boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus
had not yet come to them. 18The sea became rough because a strong wind was
blowing. 19When they had rowed about three or four miles (Greek:  hos
stadious eikosi pente e triakonta -- about twenty-five or thirty stadia --
a stadion is a little more than 600 feet or 180 meters), they saw Jesus
walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified.
20But he said to them, "It is I (Greek: ego eimi); do not be afraid."
21Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat
reached the land toward which they were going.


In the Synoptics (Matt. 14:22; Mark 6:45), the disciples depart on Jesus'
orders.  Here they do so on their own initiative.

"It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them" (v. 17).  In this
Gospel, darkness is more than the absence of physical light -- it signals
malevolence.  It is now dark, and Jesus is absent.  How alone the
disciples must feel as a strong wind raises whitecaps on the sea.  There
is no indication yet that they are afraid, but their journey will not be
easy.

It is Passover time (v. 4), and the Passover is determined by a full moon.
 Jesus has retired to the mountain.  From that vantage point, aided by a
bright moon, he can most likely see the disciples in their small boat
struggling with the elements (Barclay, 211).  Seeing their distress, he
comes to them.  Christ does not leave us comfortless.  In our adversity,
he comes to us.  Very often, it is adversity that opens our hearts to
receiving him.

Now, for the first time, we hear that the disciples are terrified (v. 19).
 It is not the storm that terrifies them, but the sight of Jesus walking
on the sea and coming near their boat.  John doesn't specify the cause of
their fear, but the Synoptics tell us that the disciples are afraid
because they think that Jesus is a ghost (Matt. 14:26; Mark 6:49; Luke
24:37).

Jesus says, "It is I (Greek: ego eimi); do not be afraid" (v. 20).  Ego
eimi can be translated "I AM" -- God's name (Exod. 3:14) -- and Jesus uses
this phrase often in this Gospel to say "ego eimi the bread of life"
(6:35) -- "ego eimi the light of the world" (8:12) -- "ego eimi the good
shepherd" (10:11) -- and so forth.  Here on the chaos of these troubled
waters, therefore, Jesus reveals himself on two levels.  He is the leader
whom they have been following, but he is also the presence of God in their
midst.  He comes to help them in their distress.  "Jesus' glory is not
revealed for power, but for grace-filled pastoral care" (O'Day, 597).

Matthew includes the story of Peter attempting to walk on the water to
meet Jesus (Matt. 14:28-31), a story not found in the other Gospels.

The story concludes with the boat "immediately" reaching the land toward
which the disciples were sailing.  The movement of this story is from the
chaos that the disciples experience when separated from Jesus to the peace
that he brings when he joins them.  It echoes Psalm 107:23-30:

23Some went down to the sea in ships,
doing business on the mighty waters;
24they saw the deeds of the Lord,
his wondrous works in the deep.
25For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their calamity;
27they reeled and staggered like drunkards,
and were at their wits' end.
28Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out from their distress;
29he made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30Then they were glad because they had quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.


 
TRUE STORY:     

Blair Hornstine was valedictorian of the Moorestown, NJ high school class
this year, but was so unpopular that her classmates planned to protest by
booing and turning their backs on her.  What went wrong?  Lots of things!

-- Blair claimed protection under disability law, but it never was clear
what her disability was.

-- What was clear was that her status as a disabled student gave her clear
advantages.  She got lots of private tutoring, did most of her work at
home, could take more Advanced Placement classes than other students,
etc., etc., etc.

-- What was also clear is that Blair was able to do lots of things that
made her sound pretty normal -- jogging, power-walking, dancing, volunteer
work, a 4-day exploration,  summer courses at Stanford, and travel with
the senior class to Disney World.  She also, at age 16, carried the
Olympic torch for one stretch of its journey.

-- What was also clear is that Blair wrote five essays for her local paper
-- and that the paper later had to run a notice explaining that her essays
contained "information from sources that was not properly attributed" --
in other words, plagiarized material.

-- Blair's father, a NJ superior court judge, has campaigned long and hard
for Blair to be valedictorian.  Moorestown citizens are convinced that he
used his knowledge of the law to manipulate the system for unfair
advantage.

-- When the school superintendent decided to honor co-valedictorians
instead of naming Blair the only valedictorian, Blair sued the school for
$2.7 million.  The outcome of the suit remains to be determined, but
Blair's father has hired a high-powered attorney who is best known for
defending mob figures.

It sounds like a story of an overly-ambitious father pushing his daughter
to be number one -- and, in the process, teaching her all the wrong
lessons about life -- teaching her that, to win, she must make someone
else lose.

It is also a story of how, when people play win-lose instead of win-win,
everyone loses.

-- For more information, see Jonathan V. Last, "First in Her Class," The
Weekly Standard (July 7-14, 2003),
http://www.theweeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/002/852lodkv.asp



A SECOND TRUE STORY: 

Recent violence in baseball has officials concerned.  In the past few
weeks:

-- At a June 13th game, Adam Dunn of the Cincinnati Reds was tackled as he
chased Carlos Silva of the Philadelphia Phillies.

-- At a June 15th game, six players from the Pittsburgh Pirates and the
Tampa Bay Devil Rays got into a brawl.

-- At a June 19th game, Paul Wilson of the Cincinnati Reds was bloodied by
the Chicago Cubs pitcher, Kyle Farnsworth, and both benches emptied.

Major league officials are pondering whether it will be necessary for them
to adopt more stringent discipline -- like the NBA and NHL -- to prevent
further problems.

-- For more details, see Rod Beaton, "New wave of brawls concerns
baseball," USA Today, June 23, 2003.
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2003-06-22-brawls_x.htm


Come Sup With God

A communion hymn
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
tune- most tunes with an 88.88 (LM) metrical patter

Come sup with God all you who thirst
All you who hunger be the first
Feast on Christ's Body and his Blood
O taste and see this meal of Love

Come children, elders, blind, and spent
Come foolish, able, indigent
Confess, repent, and then receive
Forgiveness flows abundantly

Come to be changed. Come to be fed.
Come savor Christ, the Life, the Bread.
Drink deep the gift of healing poured
and leave a vessel of our Lord.

Sing Praise to Christ our Host and meal
Whose saving work provides the seal
for us once bound, now freed from death
to live for Christ with every breath

-- Copyright for this hymn, 2000, Rev. Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia.  Used by
permission.


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