Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Fainting on the Way
“I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” Mark 8:2-3
Small and major miracles are often preceded by two things, being extraordinarily fragile and the presence of compassion. Yesterday, I had to undergo a procedure to help alleviate back and leg pain. I had been at a very fragile and painful state before I went to the doctor last week. And when the procedure was done yesterday, I couldn't walk for a while, they put me in a wheel chair, my left leg having completely given out. And yet this morning, the sun is actually going to shine, and although there some pain, there is a lessening and a promise of healing. It may be just good medicine to some, but I know that there was also an extraordinary measure of compassion, along with skill and my own honesty about my own critical need.
Mark recounts for us the feeding of the 5000, and begins by observing Jesus' remarkable compassion for the crowd. He was giving them his all, and yet his first concern was for them. Mark wants us to know that Jesus enlisted the help of his disciples and others, even though they were unwilling at first to help, understanding the enormous burden. But there it was obvious human frailty and expressed and open compassion. God finds a way to change the course of things and provides what is necessary for the crowd and those who worked along side of Jesus.
Today, I want to be grateful for human frailty and compassion. We need to be vulnerable do that we might reach out to others. And others (and ourselves) need compassion so that we might reach out to those in need. And in that connection, that reaching out, God is there. May we all reach out today, knowing that indeed God will be there.