We return to a familiar passage, the feeding of the 5000, to look at it from a different perspective. We as a congregation are entering into an intentional time of reflection on stewardship and this week we focus on themes of scarcity and abundance as we encounter them through this text. You might remember that a large crowd followed Jesus and his disciples into a very remote, deserted place. When the afternoon wore on and the end of the day was approaching, the disciples saw the large number of people and the growing potential of their hunger and need. The disciples had one idea about what to do – send the people away – but Jesus had an altogether different idea. Not surprisingly, the disciples saw the situation through a lens of scarcity and the divine eyes of Jesus saw the same situation through an alternate lens, a lens of abundance and possibility.
We’ll spend some time on Sunday contemplating what it means to think about scarcity and abundance in the midst of a pandemic. How does COVID-19 affect our hopes and dreams, our vision and planning for ministry in 2021? Will we have enough? As individuals? As a congregation? What is God’s call in this unique time and will we be able to answer it?
On the heels of the Feast Day of St. Francis, we will also be celebrating a Blessing of the Animals. Many of us have submitted pictures of our beloved animal family members which will be shared individually at the beginning of the service. (So don’t sign in late!) Later in the service, there will be a special blessing for our beloved critters along with another chance to see all of their faces together!
I hope you’ll join us on Sunday for our livestream worship at 9:00. Please know that all are welcome to join the Wednesday Bible Study that reviews the scripture and sermon topic from the previous Sunday and reflects on the questions that are listed below. If you’re interested in joining us from 11:30 to 12:30 on Wednesdays, please notify the church office or Pastor Lori and we’ll send you the Zoom link. Drop-ins are welcome! Looking forward to being together on Sunday!
Mark 6:34-43 (CEB)
When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things.
Late in the day, his disciples came to him and said, “This is an isolated place, and it’s already late in the day. Send them away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy something to eat for themselves.”
He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
But they said to him, “Should we go off and buy bread worth almost eight months’ pay and give it to them to eat?”
He said to them, “How much bread do you have? Take a look.”
After checking, they said, “Five loaves of bread and two fish.”
He directed the disciples to seat all the people in groups as though they were having a banquet on the green grass. They sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. He took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them, broke the loaves into pieces, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. Everyone ate until they were full. They filled twelve baskets with the leftover pieces of bread and fish.
Consider these questions:
- What are your own habits or inclinations regarding looking through a lens of scarcity or abundance?
- How has COVID-19 affected your sense of scarcity and/or abundance?
- Is it possible to change our lens? How do those of us who are scarcity thinkers become abundance thinkers?
- What does stewardship mean to you?