Henri Nouwen

Please read Luke 9:10-17

“When Jesus fed five thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two fish, he was showing us how God’s love can multiply the effects of our generosity.” –Henri Nouwen

My favorite part of Luke’s story of Jesus feeding the five thousand comes at verse 13 when Jesus says to the twelve, “You give them something to eat.” It’s in verses like this when I wish we could hear the tone of his voice and could see the look on his face, not to mention the faces of the twelve. It’s sort of a ridiculous thing for Jesus to say.

They are in the middle of nowhere, they have been traveling around without much to their names, they have five loaves and two fish between them all and empty coin purses. Really, Jesus??? As hearers who know how this story ends, it makes us smile and nod knowingly. But to those twelve who had recently been given power and authority over demons and the ability to cure diseases (Luke 9:1-6) the suggestion that they whip up a quick meal for a huge crowd stuns them. Really, Jesus???  Casting out demons is one thing, meal prep for 5,000+ is something else.

But isn’t that the way it goes when you travel with Jesus? Sometimes we expect Jesus to use the extraordinary to reveal God’s glory, not the snacks at the bottom of our backpacks. Later in the Gospel story we see Jesus use a simple meal to reveal God’s grace in bread and wine and a new covenant. I think that Jesus goes simple so that we can participate in the glory of God. “You give them something to eat,” he says, trusting that God’s love will multiply our generosity. “Do this in remembrance of me,” he says, trusting that God’s grace will multiply in us there, too. 

In Peace, Pastor Ruth

Let us pray:
Everlasting God, you give strength to the weak and power to the faint. Make us agents of your healing and wholeness, that your good news may be made known to the ends of your creation, through Jesus Christ our Savior and Friend, Amen.