Matthew 14:15-21 (NRSV)
When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
As the day begins on our Friday after Thanksgiving, things are a little different. Normally, our children Tim & Lindsey, John & Tess, and Allison would be here. Our three grand-puppies would be playing along with our three dogs. It would be a house full of joyful chaos. Leaving Bette at home to play with the dogs (Bette doesn’t like to shop), the kids and I would go out early Friday morning to watch the Black Friday event, which, in its own way, is a somewhat more harassed, but still joyful chaos. Later in the day we would sit and relax at home. Our conversation would turn to faith issues. I guess that’s what happens when you have two pastors in the family! Often we would talk about God’s grace, God’s love, and various theologians and philosophers. Eventually, our conversation would turn to our frustration with why people make it so hard on themselves; even harder on others as they focus only on the law, as if Christ never entered our world. Eventually, we would relax with a board or card game and end the day with all being satisfied.
Although alone this year, Bette and I are still satisfied. Our routine is greatly changed, as are many of yours, but we still find hope in our Thanksgiving. I think about the story above, the feeding of the 5000. Jesus calls on the disciples to feed the crowd and they're like, “No way! We can’t do that!!” Then Jesus asks them what they have. They reply, “Five loaves and two fish.” Jesus takes their offering, breaks it and, miraculously, all are fed and are satisfied with twelve baskets left over. All this may not have happened without the five loaves and two fish from the disciples.
We might find ourselves in these hard times saying “But, we can’t!” But Jesus says, “Yes, you can!” Jesus then takes our meager offering and does amazing things with it, things we can’t even imagine! Today, I find myself sitting here, this Friday after Thanksgiving, satisfied and thankful that God can take my meager gifts and use them to feed others. Thanks be to God!
Let us pray. Dear God, although we may not have been able to gather as normal, we know you are with us. Help us also to see that you can take our gifts and do amazing things to help bring satisfaction to those without. Use us as your instrument of grace. Amen.
In Christ’s Love,