freerangefriday: Leftovers and Invitations Pt 2

by Lilly Lewin
feed fish 5918

By Lilly Lewin

Last week, my freerangefriday post was our devotion from our thinplaceNASHVILLE gathering where we follow the lectionary readings and are looking into the gospel of Matthew. In Matthew 14, Jesus tries to get away from it all to process the death of his cousin John, but instead, he is confronted by a huge crowd looking for him. I said last week, that I would have been totally frustrated by this group of people and totally angered by their intrusion on my retreat. But not Jesus!

Jesus has compassion on them when he sees them! And he goes on to heal them and do a huge miracle among them!

This story of the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand has got me thinking of where we are in the middle of 2020… in the midst of a pandemic… an election year here in the states and in so much disruption and confusion.

In the gospels, the disciples are given the opportunity, the invitation, to imagine a whole new world with Jesus!

A world where one lunch can feed more than 5000!

A world where there are always leftovers… always more than enough!

And like the disciples, we are invited into a world where we get to do miracles with Jesus!

We are invited to participate in the KINGDOM COMING NOW!

In the midst of this new world we are living in, we are given an opportunity to reimagine so many things!
Are we willing to see the gift?
Are we willing to go into new territory rather than stay the same?
Personally
and as a community
and as people of faith,
are we willing to receive this gift… this opportunity to change and be different?
 
I’ve been thinking a lot about church… what is the church?
It’s definitely NOT a building…
but rather PEOPLE are the church!
What can the church really be about in this new era we are living in!
What if we, the CHURCH, were about seeking justice for the oppressed… working on prison reform, education reform, jobs and training for under served people and helping build and provide affordable housing?
Then there is foster care and caring for single moms… and welcoming the immigrants and migrants who are seeking new homes….
and what about seeing the needs next door?
Helping people in our own neighborhoods who need to know they matter and who might just need help with their lawn or taking out the trash.
Are we paying attention?
Are we willing to take the time to notice?
I really do believe Jesus wanted us to be about these things rather than sitting in a building learning more information that many of us already know!
 
When Jesus saw the crowds… he had compassion on them and healed them!
Then he took the small lunch that the disciples had and allowed them to see the miracle happen as they gave it away and it was multiplied to feed 5000+!
 
Jesus wants to multiply us! Jesus wants to use our small lunches, the gifts we have already, to love, serve, help, feed and bring compassion to those around us!
And with Jesus…there are always leftovers !
ALWAYS ABUNDANCE!
I really pray we can receive this gift and have NEW VISION for what we can be in this new era.
WHAT IS JESUS INVITING YOU TO REIMAGINE?
SIT and BE with this question this week and really ask Jesus to show you where you are and what might need to change.
Where can your lunch, your gifts, be multiplied in your neighborhood? Do you know your neighbors? Start with who lives on either side of you. What can you do to bring them joy?
What can your faith community do to bring the Kingdom of love and compassion, healing and justice to your neighborhood? Or to each of the streets represented by your community?
What if we saw our neighborhoods, our work places, the places we shop and live day-to-day as real invitations to learn and grow and serve? Are we willing to LISTEN and to LEARN? 
Could we be willing to partner with groups already at work in our communities rather than having to start something new? Take time to investigate and learn about a group or organization, non profit, etc working to bring healing and justice in your community.
What if this crazy season is an opportunity, an invitation to BE STILL rather than to be busy? To rest more and restore our souls. What would you need to do or stop doing, in order to find more rest and stillness in your life?
Buy a box of gold fish crackers, bake a loaf of bread or even just use the store bought loaf of bread to remind you of the abundance of God this week. As you make a sandwich or eat some crackers, be grateful for the abundance of God. Take time to thank Jesus for all the gifts around you even in this crazy season. 

CLOSING PRAYER
Lord!

Give us grace today to love as you love.

Help us to love with extravagance.

Give us hope today for ourselves and others. Heal our hurts and our hearts today,

So we can serve and help those around us.

Help us to know that you are enough.

And help us live today and everyday in thankfulness.
For all you’ve done and for all you bless us with.

In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. AMEN.

©lillylewin and freerangeworship.com

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