Posts Tagged “loaves and fishes”

“What kind of a man is a man who does not try to make the world a better place?”

Balian in Kingdom of Heaven

This week the lectionary takes us to the feeding of the 5,000 (plus women and children).  I’ve been wondering about the story all week, particularly verse 16.

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”

 16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

It struck me that we always read this as a miracle of Jesus, but at the very least the disciples were partners in it.  “You give them something to eat” but the disciples look to their very obvious limitations.

Only 5 loaves and 2 fish.

That’s not going to be enough.

But with God’s blessing it is.

So Jesus takes what they have, gives thanks and blesses it, and then gets them to share what they have.

It turns out that the little they have is more than enough.

How often do we look at the world and say ‘It’s too big and I’m too small to change it”?  The disciples fed the 5,000 with Jesus’ help.  I wonder what we could do to make the world a better place with that kind of help?

What kind of a man doesn’t even try?

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The Holy Sites (day 5)

6.00am: Wake up

7.30am: Bus trip north to Haifa, the Sea of Galilee and Nazareth

Stop 1 – Haifa – Elijah’s Cave on Mt Carmel, Haifa

I knew that the Holy Sites were places where important Biblical events had happened, and I knew that there were churches built over the top of most of them but I don’t think anything quite prepares you for  the reality of what that’s actually like.

Our first stop was Elijah’s cave, which, as expected, is inside a church.  Weird, but kinda cool.  At each stop one of the young people read a related Bible story in Arabic then one of our American friends (Eric, Harold of George) said a few words about what the significance might be for us today.  The challenge here was the same one Elijah issued to the people; will you worship the little gods you have created or will you worship the one true God?  Funny how things are so different but so similar.

Elijah's Cave

Stop 2 – Cana of Galilee

Up a back street in a small town in the middle of nowhere seems an appropriate place for Jesus’ first miracle.

Excavations at Cana

Stop 3 – Church of the Heptapegon

The site of the feeding of the 5,000.  The heat of the day was starting to have an effect.  Standing around outside the church was almost impossible, hanging around inside was almost as bad.  The church is beautiful but just after we arrived three busloads of other tourists piled in and any sense of peace, wonder or holiness was shattered.

On reflection it’s funny that I should feel that large numbers of people in this place should take away from the experience.  5,000 people turned up to listen to Jesus teach.  The thing I’ve never understood about this story is why they wouldn’t have food with them?  We were on a bus trip for a day and had enough food and water for a week.  What were these people thinking?  Or was this a miracle that was more about sharing?  About community?

The church has a beautiful courtyard with a lilly pond.  The flowers are spectacular but are surrounded by buzzing bees, all working together, all important, all contributing so there is enough for all.  Perhaps that’s the kind of miracle our world needs?

Water Lilly

We had ice-lollies instead of bread and fish as the temperature soared to 42C!

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