Friday, November 6, 2009

They Need Not Go Away

But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.

Today, I had to have an MRI early in the morning. I've had some back pain that won't go away. My doctor thought it was time to see what was going on. Being in such a tight space gives one time to think. These days they provide ear plugs which help drown out the loud noises the machine makes. But the blank walls, so close to one's face don't provide any distraction and help make the noise louder. Closing my eyes helped me to think and let my mind wander. I got wondering about who thought up the technology that I was caught in and how wonderful it was that I didn't have to be subject to more painful diagnostic tools of previous generations. Somebody had compassion on the crowds, someone used their skills to make others' lives a little easier. Someone didn't ignore the needs of others, but worked to find a solution and eased some suffering. Now, I know there are some who hate these machines, but I can vouch for the fact that an MRI is a whole lot better than a milogram. Someone took the time to have compassion on others and improved our lives tremendously.

Today we hear the story of Jesus feeding the 5000. His disciples wanted them to go away into town and feed themselves. Standard practice. The crowd wasn't the disciples' problem. But Jesus had a different view. Human suffering and need is everybody's problem. And so, rustling up the little they could find, with a blessing and faith a whole crowd of folks got fed. And they were satisfied. And people in the crowd learned that God cared about their suffering and about their physical needs. Through the hands of Jesus and the disciples, people tasted the goodness of God, first hand.

Today, I want to give thanks for all of the people who have given their lives to improve the lives of others. I want to rejoice in those who have worked to decrease human suffering. And I want to remember that Jesus taught us that human suffering is everyone's problem. We are called to be God's hands and heart in this world. We are called, as we are able, to offer our little lunches and our small skills to be God's love manifest in the world. May we all offer what we have so that God's love may be known in our day.

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