Friday 8 January 2021
Today is Friday the 8 January in the season of Christmas.
The University of Johannesburg choir sing, 'Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy. These imploring words, which have been sung for centuries, are a reminder of the inexhaustible mercy of God, of God’s unfailing compassion and forgiveness. As I listen, I might think for a moment about my need for that forgiveness, and the need, too, for me to show that same forgiveness to others.'
As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves have you? Go and see.” When they had found out, they said, “Five, and two sh.” Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. Taking 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 sh among them all. And all ate and were filled; 43 and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.
Jesus has compassion on the crowd. How do you imagine he looks at them?. . .
He says to his disciples, “You give them something to eat”. It sounds rather playful. How do you suppose Jesus might say these to the exasperated disciples?
He engages in a real and symbolic act of generosity. He’s going to share their meagre rations with a crowd of thousands. Can you imagine people in the crowd watching what he’s doing? . . . how are they affected by this? . . . how do they respond?
As you listen again, see if you can pick up on what all of this is like for Jesus . . .
As everyone is eating, what’s Jesus doing? . . . See if you can catch his eye . . .
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.