My summer job during college was to be a camp counselor at a Lutheran Church camp. At camp, after every meal, we sang songs. While this practice is atypical for most locations in our world, there is something ancient about the ritual. In fact, it is one Jewish tradition to sing after a shared family meal. While not a universal practice for Jewish families, it is noteworthy that it is shared among many.
Today, we are beginning our reading of the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel account. It is the story of Jesus performing the miracle of multiplying loaves and fish. The story of Jesus taking what was available and creating abundance. (As a reminder, this Friday evening we will be doing our Dreaming phase of Appreciative Inquiry, which is quite like Jesus taking five loaves and two fish and creating abundance.) Now, in John, this was not a miracle done to look at loaves and fish as if it were a foodie’s Instagram post, it was done to feed and satisfy those who were hungry.
Jesus feeds us with his very body and blood, which is a subject matter we will think about more deeply next week. But today, we revel in our annual summer tradition of when we hymn songs and sing hymns to God. We do this just as I sang those songs with the whole camp after a satisfying meal, because with Jesus, there is enough. Jesus has come to each one of us because Jesus loves us. He has brought us together so that we may share in his presence. Even though it doesn’t look like much, it satisfies us. In that post-meal joy, we sing.
Post-script: At this point, we gave hymn requests to the organist and sang these hymns together.