Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Feeding of the five thousand - signs

Feeding of the five thousand (2)

The next day, only the next day, just an evening has passed and the crowd who were so amply fed with five loaves and two fish are up and about wondering where the disciples and more especially Jesus had got to. As we heard last week the disciples left in the only boat to re-cross the sea while Jesus went up the mountain on their side of the lake to pray. So where was he?

Taking advantage of some passing traffic they hitched a lift to the other side of lake Galilee and found Jesus there. It was a good idea, Jesus had fed them supper and now it was breakfast time ; follow this man and all will be well. The story is well told, like my grandchild who comes into the kitchen mid morning to ask “nanny, have you been out today?” who really means “have you been to the sweet shop? “ they approach their question stealthily. “Ah, Jesus when did you come here?”

But Jesus discerns all “You are not here because of the nature of the miracle of my arrival, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Stop working so hard for earthly things, focus on the food that endures, the food I will give you.”

And then comes the staggering question” What sign are you going to gIve us so that we may see it and believe you?  Our ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, what Jesus are you going to do to show us?”

And suddenly  we are right bang up to date for this question in various forms is asked of us today all the time. “I think there may be a God or something, but how can you be so sure?” or “How can you believe in a God who lets people die in fires in Greece, in California, in floods in Laos? “ “Look at the world around you, if there were a God would it be like this?” “Why doesn’t your God do something about it all?”

We are like the crowd, we do not see the signs already given, we are thirsty for more, fresh not yet seen.

In Spring, for several years we had goose eggs in the garden, white and hard, perhaps slightly dirty, warmed by the mother bird and then at a certain unforeseen time, a crack would appear and from this tough inanimate object would emerge a small soft, fluffy  yellow gosling. Just one sign of creation, just one tiniest crumb of all that we have been given. We could fill our days with examples of the miracles of creation, with the things that we know, with the things that others know and surely the innumerable things that no-one yet knows. We could feed five thousand and have twelve overflowing baskets of wonders and yet we ask

“Give us a sign”

Let us believe in him who has been sent.

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