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Abundance

June 10, 2020

“Taking up the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all And all ate are were filled.” Mark 6:41-42

Today’s New Testament verse from the Daily Texts depicts the central scene from the only miracle performed by Jesus that is included in all four canonical Gospels. The story’s universal inclusion is likely due to its absolute historicity, its importance to our sacramental understanding, and its radical upending of our deeply-held belief in scarcity.

At Grace, we are in the second week of offering in-person services of Holy Communion. These gatherings, limited to ten people, have provided the profound opportunity for God’s people to gather together in their beloved worship space. More than that, however, we rejoice in receiving the abundant gifts of Christ given through the Eucharist: forgiveness of sin, life, and salvation. Small groups gather to receive a small wafer and a small cup of wine as signs of God’s promised abundance. There is enough for everyone, for the bread we eat is the very body of our Savior, who gave himself to save the people, who nourishes us with the very presence of God.

Having eaten the Body of Christ, we become the Body of Christ. Having had our fill, we go to fill the world. Seeing God’s abundance, we witness to the truth that the myth of scarcity is a lie. This fallen world tells us lies, and in our sin we believe and perpetuate them. We are told there’s no way to feed everyone. That there’s not enough housing for everyone. That health care shouldn’t be available to all. That justice is reserved for the few. That peace is impossible. That divisions are inevitable.

Lies.

Jesus took five loaves and two fish and fed the multitudes. There were even leftovers! Jesus has flooded creation with the presence of God. There is never not enough to go around. God’s world is one of abundance. In Holy Communion we participate in the fullness that will one day come to pass. And then we are sent to share that abundance in our world today.

Fun fact: One summer on camp staff my friends and I wrote a song about this miracle from the perspective of the two fish, whom we dubbed Miranda and Fred. Best lyric? Miranda and Fred had just been eaten along with sauce of tartar / They smiled down from heaven and said, “Hey, it’s fun to be a martyr!” Oh, to be nineteen again…

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God of abundance, we rejoice in your gifts. Through your Son, Jesus Christ, you have given us more than we need. All other good gifts come from you hand, too. Help us to receive these gifts with gratitude, and share them willingly with others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Les multiplication des pains, by James Tissot, painted between 1886 and 1894 (public domain).

From → COVID-19

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