This past weekend was a great weekend! Thanks to the generosity of so many, the shelves are very well-stocked with non-perishable foods to be shared through Immanuel’s Backpack Program with the Webster Schools, and shared in the Little Pantry off the church parking lot. Saturday was a beautiful day made even more wonderful by all the volunteers who gave their time to work towards the goal of no one going hungry, and by all the generous people who donated food. It was certainly a great day!
It was a day that to me seemed quite a bit like a day, oh, maybe 2000 years ago. When a bunch of crusty fishermen and a few others joined Jesus on a hillside by the sea in Galilee. Oh, along with a few thousand hungry friends with no food! After hearing Jesus teach and watching him heal so many folks, they didn’t want to leave. Did they want the day to just continue? Did they want to remain in Jesus’ presence? Did they feel that God was doing something new and different and wonderful?
The thing is, it was getting late. And dark. And there was nothing to eat for this hungry crowd, just a few fish and loaves. But what good is so little among so many?! At least that’s the way the disciples saw it. “Send them away,” they said, “so they can go get food for themselves.” But Jesus would have none of it. “You feed them,” he simply said.
The disciples were incredulous! Can’t you just imagine their mouths dropping open? Can’t you just picture them sputtering and protesting and maybe even using some strong language about Jesus’ obvious lapse of reality? How could just a few guys – who probably couldn’t even cook! – feed 5000 men, not to mention the women and children that were there too?! What could Jesus be thinking???
Honestly, what group of people makes a goal of doing away with hunger? Who could even begin to think that would be possible? And honestly, I think many of us see the impossibility of that task and decide not to try. Doing away with hunger is, well impossible, right? And how could a congregation even imagine taking on that task???
But with Jesus, all things are possibilities…
When I was in Confirmation many, many years ago, I remember arguing with my pastor about miracles. “They just don’t happen nowadays! So how can we believe they happened 2000 years ago?!” I couldn’t, or maybe wouldn’t, see the miracles that happened around me all the time. I closed my eyes to those who received clothing from the Clothing Bank our congregation supported. I never noticed the folks who received food and other assistance from our pastor. I failed to see that many ministries that I grew up being involved in fed, and provided medical assistance, and built wells and homes and childcare for people in my hometown and around the globe. I never saw the hands that fed, and comforted, and shared, and served, and provided. When I think back to my know-it-all-unobservant-smug-7
th grade-self, I now cringe. God was working through our congregation, through my friends, and through me in so many ways. I just didn’t see it!
And Saturday, I was overwhelmed seeing all the volunteers and the cars that drove in with gifts of food. Will what we collected Saturday completely do away with hunger? Well, no. Is it possible for little old Immanuel Lutheran Church to provide food for all who are in need? If we look at that question through human eyes, well, probably not. We are small in the big picture. There is a lot of need, so many hungry people in the world. There’s no way we can feed them all!
But when we look at the world through God’s eyes, I’m not so sure. For with God there is hope, and possibility, and opportunity. After all, Jesus did quite a bit with a few loaves and some fish. Just imagine what God might just be able to do with us!
Giving thanks for the abundance of God in all our lives,