What does it really mean to be a servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the age of coronavirus? How can we, as Christians, continue to let our light shine when darkness threatens to overcome it at every turn?
In my youth, I cheered for the Minnesota Vikings and the defensive line known as “The Purple People Eaters.” This article is NOT about that. Instead, I’m going to broach the issue of politics in this era of division between red and blue. As we probably all learned with our first box of watercolors, blue and red, when combined, make purple. It seems to me that the church in our age, needs to think about being purple instead of red or blue.
Because I currently call the Lighthouse home, I have, I think, a bit of a unique perspective on all the activities that happen in and around our church building on a weekly basis. It never ceases to amaze me, for example, how frequently the parking lot is full on random weekday evenings when you might otherwise assume that this place would be a ghost town.
The twelve days of Christmas are rushing by us. That means cleaning up the decorations and finishing the leftovers. A new year, a new decade, is upon us. That means it is time for resolutions and new beginnings. In the Church, the next festival is January 6th – The Epiphany of Our Lord. That means we celebrate the way in which God is revealed to us in Christ’s incarnation, teaching, ministry, death and resurrection.
I love this story. I love the compassion Jesus shows. I love the abundance of food that is available, including the provision of leftovers. I see our human nature come out when the disciples respond to Jesus' words with anxiety and defeat, “Where are we to get enough bread in the desert to feed so great a crowd?” But amazing things happen when Jesus is present! The crowd of 4,000 is fed with what appears to be only seven loaves and a few small fish.
As Martin Luther once said before his accusers, “Here I stand,” we did something similar. We held a congregational meeting. We voted to adopt a public statement of Welcome & Inclusion and to become a partner with Reconciling Works (among others) to be a congregation Reconciling in Christ.
Looking into the faces of thousands of hungry people, Jesus turned to the disciples and said, “You give them something to eat.” (Matt. 14:16; Mark 6:37; Luke 9:13) The disciples respond, in essence, saying, “Seriously?! Impossible.” So, Jesus feeds them all. Fast forward to today. The Church now, the body of the resurrected Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, stares into the face of millions who are hungry and suffering. Jesus again commands, “Give them something to eat.” I’m here to tell you that the response if quite different than those disciples.