One of the most embarrassing moments of my life happened when I was in fifth grade. Awkward and growing too fast, I fell down all the steps of the New York City Public Library in front on my entire class. My own children still tease me about it. I have preached about it several times. It was one of those life-shaping incidents. Embarrassment and being singled out. Yesterday, after a meeting with my editor, I wandered over to the library, and those memorable steps.
I was reminded that every human being at every age can be hurt and embarrassed by the results of accidents and timing. Whether it is public or private, things happen which we take to heart, and feel like we will never recover from these moments.
Today, the reading is about the feeding of the five thousand from Matthew. We have only five loaves and two fish, the disciples say. The timing and circumstances precluded them from having enough for the crowd. They wanted to send them away - they were embarrassed for their lack. Maybe they were afraid to be scolded by Jesus for poor planning or bad hospitality skills. Maybe they knew if they fed the people, they themselves would starve there after. It was just this type of embarrassed inadequacy that led to a great miracle. It is just our embarrassed inadequacies that lead to miracles in our own day.
Abundance from God comes not by great institutional planning, but by compassion and presence - and offering what we have.
For today, I want to give thanks for the back side of the great Lions. They were there when I was falling and they are a tremendous reminder to me, even now, that one small blunder, one moment of awkward timing, one small accident is not the end of life. In fact, for me , the embarrassed inadequacies have, over and over again, providing openings for God's love and abundance in my life. May we together pray for the capacity to offer what we have, our compassion and presence, knowing that God in Christ will provide the abundance.