Jesus, 5000 people, and a Little Bit of Food
13-14 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.
15 When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves."
16 Jesus said to them, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat."
17 They replied, "We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish."
18 And he said, "Bring them here to me."
19-21 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Thoughts from John: What is a greater miracle: thousands of pounds of fish and bread appearing out of thin air? Or 5000 strangers having enough compassion for each other that they would all be willing to share their food to feed one another?
I wonder how our view of Jesus and his mission would change if our imagination would float toward the second option rather than the first. Could it be that Jesus’ goal was to remove himself from the place of hero/savior, and get the crowd to realize they already had enough food for one another?
More importantly, what if the solution to all our problems was as simple as learning to share?
I am very quick to assume that I know what of this world is a “weed” and what is “good crop.” I think Jesus is asking me to check my assumptions before assigning a label of “bad,” or “wrong” to anyone or anything.
If there is weeding and pruning to be done, the work is not mine to do.
May the God of the Universe grant me this holy and frustrating patience.
Outward Mindset Application
Think of one person toward whom you have been "in the box." Do one thing for that person today.
Pathways Toward Centeredness
Naturalism (loving the world outdoors):
Do something that gets dirt under your nails this week. Reflect on what you might learn about the world from the perspective of the dirt.
Questions for Reflection
How do you decide who to share your life with? What is your favorite popsicle?
“Liturgy” refers to the habits and practices humans use to form community around shared values and meaning. At Church at the Park, we desire to be a community of practice, becoming people who see the world through the eyes of the marginalized, making meaning through the lens of pain and suffering, and committing ourselves to non-violence in a wounded world. This weekly email is intended to provide pathways of practice for becoming the type of people who embody these values.
Many of our reflections on each week's text come from other sources. If you're interested in reading more of what inspires us, here our our two favorite reflections.
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