(IC: Laura James, artist)
Everyone knows the story of the miracle. Jesus finds himself with a small number of loaves and fishes, and 5000 people to feed, and there is enough. A number of years ago, I wrote about the peoples’ role in this miracle. I still believe in the crucial task of others being faithful, and the miracle being held by all.
This pandemic time has opened my heart to even more considerations of community. We are being asked, beyond any legal definitions and what we might do – to hear in our hearts the invitation to carry the community on behalf of all.
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 the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. Matthew 14:18
The disciples gave them to the people. The disciples could not have physically given bread to each person. They had to share. You know, laughing talking, saying hello – passing it around with joy like at the best potluck. Gently guiding old folks forward so they could reach easily. Encouraging the children to share with their elders. Note that mark of joy – can you see it? The easy, carefree way of knowing that there would be enough for all?
And here we are. We are told in the Kin-dom of Love and Joy, there will be enough. I suspect there are also enough hands to carry it. But even Jesus, in his human limitations, couldn’t have himself distributed all this food. He could show us, he could model the Way – but then we have to pick up the work.
This week I’ve had the blessing of making a few porch deliveries. They have been joyful – and have involved safe social distancing. The folks on the end of the deliveries could have certainly survived without my supplies. It was not a “big deal”. Was it enough? I think the Joy I felt, indicated I was faithful. Those folks are doing great support work in varied communities. They are tired. I can’t do their work for them. I have to assume that the bit of Joy and laughter I can hold will be enough. If other action is needed, I will hear it and respond.
Jesus fed five thousand. However, He physically handed the nourishment to a mere few. The crowd shared the work. In this time, I’ve heard stories of folks leaving rolls of toilet paper on their neighbors’ steps. Teachers sending out videos to their students every day saying “I love you. Hang in there”. People sitting in the quiet every day, praying for the world and holding the Hope when exhausted others can not see it.
What are you asked to hold today? A phone call of encouragement? Holding the hand of a person on a ventilator, as their loved ones cannot be present? A phone call to a legislator, to let them know what’s needed, and thank them for their work? Sharing some news via social media, a Word of Love and encouragement? Some rest, a cup of morning coffee, while you gather your strength for what might come next and how your unique gifts will be called upon? Keep listening. You may not be asked to carry 5000 pieces of bread – but we must faithfully carry the one piece we are meant to carry.
This post is dedicated to all those doing what they can, what they must.