THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – All Change – Again! 2nd August.
This week has seen many people’s lives and plans turned upside down yet again. Just when we thought we might slowly be getting back to some sort of normality, social gathering is restricted again, holiday plans are thwarted, work patterns disrupted and so on. So now might be a good time to reflect again on some of our previous thoughts. I’m sorry if you feel you’ve heard some of this before, but in light of recent events, I had to remind myself of a few things, so maybe some of you might like a reminder too.
One of the set readings for this week is the account of the ‘Feeding of the Five Thousand.’ What has that to do with all the above you might ask? In some ways nothing, and yet for me there are profound lessons in this story that speak directly to our current situation. Interestingly this is the one miracle that appears in all four of the gospels (Mt 14; 13-21, Mk 6: 30-44, Lk 9: 10-17, Jn 6: 1-15). Matthew and Mark also tell us of the Feeding of the Four Thousand which occurred not long after, but in a different place and under different circumstances (Mt 15: 29-39, Mk 8: 1-10). What makes these events so special? On both occasions the crowds had been with Jesus for some time and were now getting hungry, in both instances either time, location, or both meant it was impossible to get food for so many people, or was it? Jesus, and the disciples in their own way, had compassion on the crowds, but their approach to the problem was entirely different. The disciples, faced with a seemingly impossible situation, could only see the reasons they couldn’t help, it’s deserted here, it’s late, we don’t have enough money! Jesus on the other hand turns to the disciple and asks, what do we have? He takes what at first may seem a meagre offering – a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish – gives thanks for it and blesses it. Low and behold the crowds are fed.
I know I’ve said this before, but it’s all too easy at times to get wrapped up in concerns about what we don’t have, and as a result lose sight of what we do have. It’s true, of course, that there are those who have very little and for those people it’s hard to look beyond that fact. But most of us, if we did but take stock and look carefully, have an abundance, which if we were to give thanks for and use wisely could not only improve our lives but also the lives of those who don’t. A small amount offered to God and used wisely can produce its own miracle for the many, just like the loaves and fish.
Another reminder of recent thoughts concern’s one of God’s great gifts to us – time. One of the ways I waste time – at an embarrassing rate – is fretting and pondering over things I can’t change, instead of stepping back, taking time and thinking about something positive that could change things for the better.
Talking to people, I’ve noticed how many of us have been affected by the enforced changes in life style and not being able to do the regular things we used to. It tends to create a lack of time reference, meaning we wake up in the morning wondering what day of the week it is! Each day can seem much the same as the last. Maybe we should see this as freedom from the constraints of a full diary and take the opportunity to reassess our time priorities.
One useful thing we can do is give a little more time to quiet stillness, meditating on God’s creation and His love for us manifest in Jesus’ life and sacrifice. And then to consider Jesus’ teachings which, if heeded, will lead to a kinder more compassionate world, more fitting for His creation.
Almighty God, thank you for the many blessing
Each one of us receives and enjoys every day.
Help us to see the countless gifts
You give us that sometimes we fail to see.
Thank you for each minute of the day,
Help us to savour each moment
And make each one count.
Give us the compassion and understanding
To recognise those who are struggling to
See through the problems of the day.
Guide us in how to support and encourage them
To show them Your love and healing power,
Give them your peace we pray.
And now Lord we lift to you the
Names of people for whom we give
Special thanks today,
Or who need Your healing touch.
We give grateful thanks for Renzo,
We ask your comforting hand on
Your healing hand on
Tom, Brian, Phil and Frank.
Heavenly Father, you know the needs of each individual.
We place those needs into your hands
And ask you to bless each one
And ask that they may know
Your healing and comforting presence with them.
All these prayers we bring in Jesus’ name. Amen.