Psalm 89:1-18 • Jeremiah 16:10-21 • Romans 7:1-12 • John 6:1-15
Whether taken as a supernatural act or as a moment of inspired sharing, the feeding of the 5000 was a miracle. This miracle was reported in all four gospels. Something extraordinary happened that day. I can imagine a mighty gift of the spirit arising among the hungry crowds as they followed their great Healer, deeply moved by his message of saving love and hope, and by the power of his faith.
Even the smallest gift that feeds another is reminiscent of that long ago miracle, and writ large around the world it is repeated with truckloads and airlifts of food in times of famine or violence. Such giving warms the heart—and can stop wars. At St. Paul’s, participating in its various food ministries—Salvation Army, PACEM, Cropwalk, and shut ins—and working for change with justice through IMPACT, the African Development Project, and Bread for the World, all spring from the same divine impulse to give.
Our African Development Project is in its 30th year, having grown steadily in supporters within the church and beyond. Those of us who have been in it since the beginning celebrate this and the fact that younger spirits are taking on its major responsibilities. All recognize that we receive as much as we give—in my family’s case the joy of a Kenyan daughter who has been living with us for three years and has been able to provide the necessary funds from her American income for the education of four siblings and the support of her mother and child back home.
Sixteen million children in our rich country lack enough healthy food to eat, and worldwide almost a billion people are hungry or even starving. These numbers can make our gifts seem trivial, but in the feeding of the 5000 Jesus showed that the immensity of the problem of hunger should never discourage our giving, and that when we act together miracles can happen.
— Wilma Bradbeer