September 21, 2019

Singing in the Checkout Lane

September 21, 2019


Psalm 79:1-9
Jeremiah 8:14-17; 9:2-11
Mark 12:41-44
This weekend’s scripture:Proverbs 17:19-22


I spent time this summer in a peaceful mountain setting where Jeremiah was the name we gave the bullfrog who resides in our cattle guard. Reading from the Book of Jeremiah all week sets the scene for re-entry back into the problems of workaday life and the chaos of the fall political season, where, like Jeremiah warned, we will hear prevaricating and blindsiding by some who would be our leaders. Like Jeremiah, we worry that there will be continued neglect of the wounds of the people and failure to “defend the just cause of the poor.” We need strong faith and good consciences so that we can encourage those who will lead us in God’s truth and keep us on the path to God’s justice and peace.

Which brings me to Jesus’ observation of the widow who brought two small copper coins in offering. By her act “she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on” (Mark 12:44). What do we have to offer? Can we give in the spirit of this widow, and of the boy who gave his lunch away so Jesus could feed the multitude? I’ll close with my own re-entry story, something I wrote coming home from vacation a few years ago.

“I know I’m back in Music City. The cashier at Kroger was singing – softly, but very well – and swiping bar codes with each beat. It was a blessing to be in her line, and she helped us keep our patience, especially when the customer in front of me, a quiet, efficient older woman, apologized for the time it took her to check out. She was clearly planning to feed a multitude (pork chops, potatoes, and sides). Instead of a multiplication of loaves and fishes, she used a multiplicity of coupons and food stamps. Blessings abound! When my turn came, the cashier had moved on to a second hymn and was kind enough to let me sing a couple of lines in turn, answering my quavering voice with a clear, strong sung response. It was truly Amazing Grace at the supermarket.”


  • Do we recognize, as Jesus did, when people are hungry and need to be fed? How can we help “feed the multitudes” of hungry people today?
  • What does it mean to us “to put in everything” in the spirit of the widow who gave her two copper coins?


  • Read the Bible story about Jesus using a boy’s lunch to feed many people is found in John 6:4-14.
  • Why was the boy willing to give Jesus the lunch his mother had packed for him?


God of all creation, we thank you for vacations and time away from the busy-ness of daily life. Renew us by your Spirit and give us voices to sing your praise every day, even in the check-out line. In thanksgiving for Jesus, our Savior and Guide. Amen.