Saturday, May 9, 2015

Five Loaves and Two Fish

Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, "Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money - not even an extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there. Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them." They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere. Now Herod the ruler heard about all that had taken place, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the ancient prophets had arisen. Herod said, "John I beheaded; but who is this about whom I hear such things?" And he tried to see him.

On their return the apostles told Jesus all they had done. He took them with him and withdrew privately to a city called Bethsaida. When the crowds found out about it, they followed him; and he welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured. The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve came to him and said, "Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place." But he said to them, "You give them something to eat." They said, "We have no more than five loaves and two fish - unless we are to go and buy food for all these people." For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, "Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each." They did so and made them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces. Luke 9:1-17 
When my husband came home from the hospital after being so sick it felt miraculous. What we had been praying for had come to pass.  There is still a whole mess of healing to happen before he is truly better and out of the woods. The people who sat to listen to Jesus and to were miraculously fed, still had to make it home and grow in faith and love. Our work of caring, even in the midst of miracles, is never done, although it's helped through God's grace and the blessing of community.
Jesus sent his disciples out and they came back so excited and energized. And they still struggled with how to respond to the crowds that had gathered. They still had more work to do, and feel apart when pressed. The Gospel today reminds us that we are human and always have to lean on the mighty power of God. We cannot make miracles happen, but by offering what we have, no matter how small, and asking for God's blessing, miracles can still change the outcome of tough situations.
Today I ask God to help me continue to ask for the help I need, and give me the strength and patience for the coming days. May we all look for God's miraculous grace and strength for the challenges ahead.

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