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Friday, July 03, 2009


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[July 03, 2009]   -- "So they gathered (up the fragments) and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets."-John 6: 13

It is the only miracle story to appear in all 4 Gospels. It is the one story almost everyone knows outside of the birth story and the crucifixion. It is the feeding of the five thousand. So, what's the big deal? Why all the repeat this particular story so many times? Well, I think there is a simple reason for that. In this story we find the richness and depth of who Jesus is. We see the compassion, the power, the love. We find a powerful metaphor for Holy Communion. And all these things are punctuated with one, powerful image...abundance. Jesus simply does not run out of things. Jesus does not run out of love or compassion or power. Jesus has them in abundance and in this story they become immediately evident.

And none are more important to us in this troubled era than the abundance of Christ's compassion. All of us have problems that we carry with us; burdens under which we suffer. Some are great and some are relatively minor but we all carry them. What this story teaches us is that Jesus doesn't just have a little compassion for us. He doesn't look at our troubles and say, "well, I feel for you man, but there is nothing I can do." No, he says I will help you. As he looks out over the tired masses that have followed him all day he feels compassion for them and he simply overwhelms them with food, offering more than they can eat. It is a powerful gesture of his compassion. As we spend our lives following Jesus we will all have moments like this; when we are simply overwhelmed with his compassion for us. When we feel not only that our troubles are shared with him but that he has done more than we could ever have asked him to do for us. In those extra loaves that the disciples gathered at the end of the day we find the surplus of Christ's love and compassion. It is enough for us!

Prayer: Holy God, I come to you this day with an empty stomach. I am spiritually starving and I need your nourishment. Please feed me as you fed those people, my brothers and sisters, so long ago. I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

[text from file received by Phil Blackburn, First Presbyterian Church]


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