In our reading through of the Gospel of John, we have arrived at chapter 6 where Jesus feeds a large crowd. They had followed Him out to the countryside because of all the healing miracles he had been doing. John tells us that Jesus was sitting with his disciples and they saw the crowd coming.
Jesus is the one who brings up feeding them….and it's to test Phillip specifically. John even tells us that Jesus knew what he was going to do already. I wonder when John found this out? What it at some later storytelling time around a fire with everyone laughing and Jesus comes out with the news…”oh, by the way, I knew what I was going to do already!”
Freaked out at this thought, Phillip immediately dismisses the idea saying they would have to work many months to feed this crowd.
Then Andrew pipes up with the silliest idea. I’m sure he was just spit balling, looking around for any possible solution and he suggests that there is a boy hanging out that has some fish and bread.
In this telling, Jesus doesn’t respond directly to Andrew, he just says “tell the people to sit down.” But He definitely locks on to Andrews impractical and silly idea. He starts to distribute the tiny lunch this by has (a bit carb heavy for me) and he feeds the whole crowd…at least 10,000 folks or maybe more! And they had leftovers.
How does this apply to 25 people who eat pizza together on a little corner of a little, dusty town in the Central Valley on Monday nights?
Well, May has given testimony on a few occasions of food stretching before her eyes to feed just enough of the folks that her and Cleo encounter along the way.
I could tell you about several times over the past months since taking over the budget where things were dipping down and an unexpected check or amount shows up just in time.
I could tell you about help that shows up right when we need it or ways that I am privy to people stepping up and taking care of one another.
We are Phillip, doubting we could ever make anything work here.
We are Andrew, spitballing stupid ideas that just might have something to them.
We are the little boy, surrendering what we have so that Jesus can make it so much more.
We are the crowd, receiving abundance without even knowing where it’s coming from.
We are the fish and bread (some of us a little more fishy than others), having the potential, in the hands of Jesus, to go farther than we ever thought possible.
And we have the mind of Christ, with the ability to see potential in the smallest of things to stretch and grow into ways to bless thousands.
We are the body of Christ, called to sit with others and help them to see the Kingdom of God as it plays out in everyday life at lunchtime, supper, a conversation on the porch, a phone call, a gracious word, shared bread, care, prayer and 10,000 different ways.
It’s not a great time to gather with 10,000 others or even 25 others (this too shall pass) but it is always a good time to connect with others and let Jesus take our small portion and make it go farther than we ever dreamed.
Whether we’re in this building or not, we are the body of Christ. It’ll be good to gather together again, but in the mean time, do some spitballing of your own and see if Jesus doesn’t respond.
Let’s surrender the little we have together and watch Jesus make it stretch to bless and heal and bring grace to the people around us.