Those of you that know me, know I love to eat. I love food and the power of food to draw people together in grace. Perhaps that is why I resonate with Jesus’ ministry so much, often involving food. Today in Matthew, Jesus cures many and feeds many more. We follow a God who doles out grace.
These stories go well beyond Jesus showing compassion for the people around him. They testify to the fact that, for we Christians, God is not far away and aloof from us. Jesus shows us that God does not stand outside of life, but is right here with us, beside us in our broken and troubled and suffering world. Paul reminds us that nothing in existence can ever separate us from the love of God, revealed in Christ.
Ours is not a faith of easy answers and unrealistic solutions. Jesus entered life and died on the cross for us, showing us that in whatever we experience, in whatever may trouble us, in whatever distress or threat we feel, we need not fear because God is in it with us. God will lift up in our midst what we need to make it through, because God is good.
In whatever crisis or issue we face in life, in whatever trouble may come our way, we learn through stories like today’s that the power of God’s love will provide what we need. From the midst of the Body of Christ, God will lift up the resources to accomplish his loving purposes.
These stories are also reminders for us. We pray in the Lord’s Prayer that God may give us daily bread. We learn in these stories that it is we who are to be involved in, not only the receiving of daily bread, but in the giving of it too.
A good image of this is in the context of the Lord’s Supper, especially when we pass the bread around in a circle, or when we serve each other in the pew. In that image of receiving bread and then turning to share bread with the person to our other side is the reality of God’s gracious action within the meal: each person is fed solely through God’s grace, but each person also plays an important role in making sure God’s grace continues with the others gathered there.
May these stories of curing and feeding enrich and enliven your day. May they also be reminders that you play a part in God’s inbreaking kingdom.