Rev'd Karen - March 2023
The Vicar’s Light Reflections
Light Reflections… “Let your light shine…” (Matthew 5.16)
“Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and asked God’s blessing on the food. Breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples to give to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they picked up twelve baskets of leftovers!” (Luke 9:16-17)
We have now entered the time of Lent, the six-week period of preparation before Easter. The Gospel reading on the First Sunday in Lent was the story of Jesus in the Wilderness where he prayed and fasted for 40 days and nights, overcoming the temptations of Satan. Christians often spend time in Lent, in prayer and fasting or by ‘giving something up’ reflecting on these sacrifices of Jesus. So, in the light of this, you may be wondering why I chose to head this reflection with these verses from Luke’s account of Jesus Feeding the Five Thousand, this does not look much like a Lenten fast when, 5,000 men, plus women and children were fed until they were full and couldn’t eat any more with just five loaves and two fish; and there was still a mountain of leftovers! What abundance and generosity!
To explain, I do believe that just before the start of Lent, we had a glimpse of heaven breaking in on our Benefice, a sign of God’s love, provision, and deep generosity towards us. This happened at the United Benefice mid-week Holy Communion service. We have a faithful congregation at this well-attended simple service. Now, each week, myself, and the sacristan (the person who prepares the Lord’s table and the wafers and the wine), know how many wafers we have and depending on the numbers of people in the congregation, before blessing, I can add to or take away the wafers so that we have roughly the right amount. There are usually one or two left over which I then consume afterwards. That Tuesday, however, at the end of the distribution of the bread, it was apparent there were many wafers still left. I thought it odd that there was so many, as we had a good number of people at the service and all had received the body of Christ, but I dismissed it. When the sacristan came to clear up, they were utterly taken a back about the number of ‘leftovers’ there were…they knew exactly how many they had put in the ciborium before the service (it’s the same number every week) and it was nearly that amount again left over, even after all had received. We were both astonished, there did not seem to be any logical or rational explanation for this. We have since pondered on this and the more I have thought about it, the more I wonder, whether like the loaves of bread and the fish, together with the basket of leftovers, we had experienced a miracle.
It is currently a time of scarcity (check out the vegetable shelves in the supermarket!), the cost of living and energy is seriously causing financial difficulties, there is ‘not enough to go around’ and our United Benefice churches too are struggling in paying bills, affording necessary maintenance and repairs to beautiful, but costly Grade I & II listed buildings. And yet, in the midst of these very real concerns and worries, maybe, just maybe God is saying; keep being faithful, don’t focus on the lack, but instead focus on me, for I will bless you, I will not let you go hungry, I will provide for all you need, in my power the less and the least will become a bounty that will feed, satisfy and produce an abundance of leftovers for all to share. “Jesus replied, ‘I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry again. Those who believe in me will never thirst.” (John 6:35)
Blessing, Rev’d Karen Christ Centered...Kingdom Focused