As we are led by the scriptures each year we walk now with Jesus in Galilee. Jesus is teaching his disciples, helping them grow in their faith, preparing them to resist the empire that had conquered them, renewing the Spirit and the principle that they had lost through the hypocrisy of their leaders..
Our task is let Jesus also train us in the resistance of our time. We are also recovering from the shock of the seizure of power in this country by a racist movement that hates us – and the realization that the protections we had are being eliminated and the hopes we had are being put off for years.
Our main defense is an informed people, organized to mobilize quickly and powerfully to defend those who come under attack.
*We have learned the critical need for disciples, for those with a commitment to their people, beyond their own safety or benefit.
*We have learned the power of healing to mobilize our people
*We have learned the power of driving out the demons that oppression has planted in the hearts of an oppressed and besieged people.
*We have grown because Jesus sent us out to do the work of organizing the people. We learned by trying, learning from our mistakes as well as our successes.
Today we move to a higher level: 1) we confront our self doubts to do the work of organizing the people; 2) We learn that to organize our people we need to put them in groups 3) we learn to share the Word of God.
Jesus has been teaching and healing and driving out demons. He has taken John’s place in criticizing the hypocrisy of the Priests and the lawyers who compromised with the Roman conquerors. Now he begins to gather larger and larger crowds.
At the time of today’s scripture he has been teaching all through the day. The disciples approach him and ask him to send the people away. “It is growing dark and the people are growing hungry. We do not have enough food to feed them – only enough to feed ourselves. They said to him, “To feed all thee people it would take more than half a year’s wages[a]! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?””
Jesus tells them he wants to continue to teach the people. He asks them, “What food do you have?” they reply, “Only five loaves and two fishes.” Jesus directs them to have the people sit down in groups of hundreds and fifties. He breaks the bread and divides the two fish between the disciples. Then he tells them to feed the people. It is written that all who were there were fed and satisfied – and Jesus continued to “
What made the disciples want to send the people away? They told Jesus that to feed the people it would cost them a half a year’s wages. They were first concerned about what they themselves would have to sacrifice. That selfishness caused them not to see what could be done. They could not see that they actually had enough to feed the people. Their self-doubt was fed by selfishness. That is always the way it is. Our selfishness destroys our faith and stands in the way of organizing the people – as we so much need to know now!
What actually happened in this miracle of the fish and the loaves? I was not there. Yet I know that today if our people, the people of the south, came to hear someone who could save them from oppression and hypocrisy they would come in families. And in each family the mother would pack enough food for the whole family. It is the way of the people to bring with them different kinds of food from whatever they had.
When they heard Jesus say, “Feed the people” and they saw the disciples organizing them in groups of fifty and one hundred and then when they saw the disciples distribute the little food they had, why then they shared what they had with those in their group. Suddenly there was enough to feed all the people.
We learn what rights the people have. We want to inspire them to know their rights, to stand up for each other. But we think, “Why would they listen to us?” Do you remember that when God commanded Moses to go back and organize his people in Egypt he asked God to send someone else because he was a poor public speaker? You see that is our first response. We don’t have enough knowledge to prepare the people and we don’t have the leadership, the skills –the charisma – to inspire the people. The Lord tells Moses that he will give him what he needs – and that the people will see it is God speaking through him.
Yet Jesus is telling us we do – we have enough and we have what it takes to inspire the people. First is to gather the people in groups so that they can draw strength from each other. The strength is not just in you, it is also in the people when they share with each other. The second is to be willing to share what you have, to give of yourself. Your unselfishness, your love shown in real acts of sharing, will inspire the people. You don’t need to be a great speaker. You need only to love and to be willing to sacrifice for the people.
Everywhere now the people are afraid. They need to see courage. You have probably seen the woman Janette who has taken sanctuary in a church in Denver. Elvira and I were doing an interview with Telemundo about her sanctuary and the reporter asked if I believed that people would go into sanctuary again all over the country. I asked the reporter if he could connect Elvira with Janet in Denver by telephone. They spoke and shared the fear and the sadness they had experienced separated from their fathers in Mexico and now the threat of being separated from their children here in the United States. Afterward, Elvira noticed that Janet had been a “facebook” friend and had been following Elvira for years since she went into sanctuary.
Acts of courage give others courage. The sanctuary we began here in Chicago is spreading throughout the nation. If you act fromyour heart others will act from their heart and our numbers and organization and resistance will grow. What you give you will get back one hundred times, one thousand times.
Jesus also instructed his followers not to worry if they were arrested, not to worry about what they would say. Jesus told them, “The Holy spirit will give you the words!”
We are all recovering from the shock of Trump’s election and now of the first wave of raids and deportations across the country. We need to build our confidence and the confidence of the people to build a resistance that can protect us. We are ready to train you now so that you can speak to groups and train others to teach people their rights and to connect them so that we can defend them. You don’t have to know everything. You just need to know how to connect with those who know what you need to know. We have experienced lawyers and legal staff. In our long struggle we have actually worked with elected officials like Gutierrez to create new legal defenses. When we took to the streets we got ICE to make changes – changes that Trump hasn’t figured out yet! We can defend people if they don’t make the mistake of talking too much when they are arrested –talking to ICE before they talk to their own defenders!
Yet we need to communicate more than the knowledge of legal defense. We need to communicate the Word of God!
There is a demon in Donald Trump and his lieutenants, a devil. That demon of white supremacy has seized control of this government. When Jesus was in the desert confronted with the devil, He quoted the scripture. ““It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” At the command of Jesus, the disciples shared more than the five loaves, they shared the Word of God. The Word of God teaches us that God has a purpose for planting his people here to be like “Oaks of righteousness.” He asks us to see ourselves as part of a people, not just as individuals. If in your heart you love your family, love your brothers and sisters, than you have it in you to love your people, even to sacrifice for them as Jesus did with his very life. If you are connected to God than even death holds no fear for you.
The prophet dreamed that God led him to the valley of the dry bones. It must have been a depressing sight, all those bones laying about, separated from each other. Then God instructed the prophet to connect the bones together. Still, there was no life in the bones. Then God told the prophet, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
You are asked, not only to communicate the defenses against deportation, but to “Prophesy,” to remind people of who they are and that they have been planted here in this country with a purpose to transform the suffering of the whole continent. Millions have been forced to migrate to this country by poverty and by the violence – yet both the poverty and the violence have their roots right here in the United States. Why does God allow so much suffering? After allowing so many to be forced to migrate here, why does God allow now their persecution? God’s ways are not our ways, says the scripture. There is a heavenly purpose in planting a people here. Do you think that God’s arms are too short to save you? No! But the growing witness of your resistance will spark a resistance that will transform the oppression of the whole continent! And the witness of your resistance will give purpose and faith to generations to come.
You are not few you are many! You are not alone! What remains now is to connect the people who are persecuted, called criminals, disrespected. The breath of courage and love and solidarity will bring the dry bones to life, to stand up together like a vast army!
Tomorrow night we will go to hear Lopez Obrador and the new organization, Moreno. Moreno is both the new organization of the people in Mexico but Moreno is also the dark virgin, coming again to a conquered people. Moreno is coming to life in Mexico, sweeping away the corruption and uniting the people. Don’t you see that thousands have demonstrated in Mexico City against Trump and the deportations? More marched in Mexico City than marched in Los Angeles and Chicago and the other places on the “Day without Immigrants.” Your witness of resistance will breathe new life to the people of Mexico and Central America – and their solidarity will force back the racism and deportations of Donald Trump. Your spirit will connect the dry bones.
You have enough. Gather the people in groups so that they can give strength and knowledge and faith to each other. Give out the two fishes and the five loaves – it will be enough to feed the five thousand for it will bring solidarity from the hearts of the people to share what they have. If you dare to struggle, to share your knowledge and your love, than a Great Spirit will connect the people as never before and the devil that has infected the government of this nation will be defeated – and you and your families and your people will be given peace.
In these weeks, we are being regenerated, prepared and our Spirit renewed. Soon, our walk with Jesus will begin the confrontation with wickedness. Yet there is one more walk we must take with Jesus in Galilee. Next week, we will walk in the spirit of the ancestors!
Are you getting ready? Are you ready to leave fear aside? Are you ready to see love conquer hate? Get ready – for you are walking in God’s time and He asks you to keep in step!
Amen? Amen? Amen!
THE HOLY SCRIPTURES FOR THE SEVENTH WEEK IN GALILEE WITH JESUS
Ezekiel 37:7-12 The Valley of Dry Bones
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.
Mark 6:32-44 Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages[a]! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.” When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.” Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
Matthew 4: 1-4 Man shall not live on bread alone,
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”