Monday, January 2, 2012
A Child's Lunch
After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” John 6:1-14
I always loved metal lunch boxes. Most of the time when I was a child, my Mom would pack our lunches in brown paper bags and write our names on them. One year I had a red and black plaid lunch box, which was a hand-me-down from my older brother. It might have been a tad bit masculine, but I didn't care. I carried it proudly and loved the matching thermos that went with it. As an adult I've collected a few favorites, which I keep my art materials in, including a skull and cross bones and a Kermit lunch boxes. Parents have been packing lunches for children forever, it seems. And kids are often trying to get rid of what is packed for them.
In our gospel story today, we find one little boy, in a crowd of so many, who had a lunch packed for him. He might have been scolded for sharing what he had - it might have been several meals worth and his parents didn't have much. Whatever the motivation, that little lunch became food for thousands. One little boys offer became a miracle for the masses. With leftovers! The little boys ability to offer what he had, a parents' thought to plan for a child, all simple gestures, became food and sustenance for so, so many. We often hold back because we have so little to offer. We are reminded that God can turn a small boys' lunch into a feast for thousands. We are asked to take a few small risks, in offering what we have been given, so the world might be fed, and nothing and no one may be lost.
Today, I ask God to help me be generous even when times are tough. May I remember today that my small offering can be used and multiplied by God. May our offerings be seen as seed, seeds which can bring about life and abundance for others. May we not hold back from generosity, knowing that God will use or measly offerings for the transformation of the world. In God;s reign, no one is too far, has too little, nor is insignificant. God invites us all today to share and see the miracles unfold before us.