August 2, 2020
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Many people operate out of a scarcity mindset – we are all too aware of what we don’t have. During the early weeks of the COVID shutdown, it was difficult to find toilet paper in the stores. Some of that difficulty was simply because most of the toilet paper being manufactured is for institutional use – office buildings, schools, hotels, for example. Suddenly, office buildings, schools, and hotels were empty. Everyone was at home, and the demand for Quilted Northern and Charmin Strong outstripped the availability of those products.
But there was something else going on, too. People were ‘stocking up’ on basic essentials like toilet paper because they were afraid. They were operating out of a mindset of scarcity, hoarding resources instead of sharing them.
The crowds following Jesus around Galilee were used to living a life of scarcity. Continue reading
July 29, 2018
If you thought this series on Living Like Jesus was going to be a checklist of ‘Dos and Don’ts’ you are probably disappointed by now. Living like Jesus isn’t that simple, is it? We have to look for God in the interruptions and depend on God alone to provide for our needs. When evil seems to be taking over, it’s only by claiming our identity in Christ that we can overcome that evil.
As we learned last week, we have to stay in the boat with Jesus, instead of running ahead to where we think he’s going. And living like Jesus means having gut-wrenching compassion for those who don’t know him. That means allowing ourselves to be touched as the “fringe of his cloak” in order to be Christ’s healing touch in the world.
Today’s reading gives us the final installment of this sixth chapter of Mark. We’re about to move out of the mundane and into the miraculous. Continue reading
July 26, 2015
I remember when my third grade teacher, Miss Williamson, introduced us to what she called “modern math.” We spent hours counting in base two and base 12. We had no idea why. I’m not sure Miss Williamson did, either. Looking back, I can see how all that base two counting might have prepared me for the computer age and binary numbers, but at the time, it was little more than a novelty – I was always amazed at how quickly the numbers multiplied: one, ten, eleven, a hundred, a hundred and one, a hundred and ten, a hundred and eleven, a thousand…
When we were in Israel, we visited the site that is traditionally believed to be the spot where Jesus fed a crowd of at least 5000 people. It was interesting to hear this miracle called “the multiplication of loaves and fishes” instead of “the feeding of the 5000.” I had always imagined that the miracle was important because Jesus had fed a crowd of poor, hungry people. Somewhere I learned that barley loaves were the bread of the very poor, so I thought this was just one more example of Jesus reaching out to “the least of these” in a tangible way.
But visiting the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes gave me a different perspective. Continue reading