God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Compassion

The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark,  Day 31

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.’ But he answered them, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They said to him, ‘Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?’ And he said to them, ‘How many loaves have you? Go and see.’ When they had found out, they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’ Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.                                             Mark 6:30-44
        Is one of the most important traits of discipleship compassion? The apostles (the first and only time this designation is given to the 12 in Mark), have returned from their missionary trip. Jesus invites them to come away and rest. They set off in a boat for a quiet place, but the crowds see where they are headed and follow on foot. As Jesus comes ashore and sees the crowds he feels compassion for them. The disciple get worried about the people and want to send them back to the villages to eat and they tell Jesus to send them away. Jesus says to them, you feed them, give them something to eat. The disciples counter this with a complaint - what are we to spend a fortune on food for these people. Jesus then invites them to look at their resources, at what bread they have available. They found 5 loaves and 2 fishes. Jesus takes, blesses, and breaks the loaves and fishes. Everyone then eats until they are satisfied. They collect 12 baskets of bread and fish. So we are reminded that God feed the Israelites in the desert with manna from Heaven. Jesus too is able to feed people in the wilderness.
        Jesus demonstrates compassion to the disciples, when they are interested in sending people away, he pushes them to feed them even if it cost money. So part of our discipleship journey is too learn to have compassion, to take Jesus' command - you give them something to eat. So part of our journey is to feed people. How are we helping to give people something to eat. Do we have meal programs to provide a hot meal? Do we support a food pantry? Do we give school kids a backpack of food for the weekend? Do we have a summer feeding program for kids? Are you challenging government officials who cut food stamps and school lunch programs? Are you helping to make sure no one in this country or this world goes hungry? Do you challenge politicians who call starving children takers not makers?  

Prayer Practice:
Use the words - "You give them something to eat" as your breath prayer today. Breathing in and out let these words settle in your heart. Ask God to share with you how you can show compassion. As you go to the super market this week, say the prayer you give them something to eat, and fill a basket with food to place in the pantry barrel. Amen.

Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ

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