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Thoughts on Sunday’s Scripture
When we say we have faith in God, we mean that we put our trust in God, That doesn’t mean that there is no doubt, or wavering, or uncertainty. But it does mean that in the end of the day we know, or at least want to hope, that we place our confidence in the right place, in the truly Holy One. But trust is something that grows and can also ebb and flow. I think of our daughters. They put their trust in me, yet I have let them down. And that trust has evolved or changed: the way that they trusted me as infants, is not how they trust me 10 years later. And so it’s fair for us to assume that our faith in God must also grow, even as it might ebb and flow. Tragically, our faith vocabulary is usually stuck in the impasse of black and white thinking and oppositional vocabulary: we either have faith or don’t. We either trust or doubt.
The prophet writes to his people in their context of imperial enslavement, or captivity in their Babylonian Exile of 2,500 years ago in the land we now call Iraq. The Living God speaks through the prophet to challenge the people to remember that in God alone will their thirsts and hungers be satisfied. That God is not distant, hidden, or tricky, but rather present, like a mama cooking up a storm in the kitchen for her loved ones whom she always wants to welcome home, where they belong, at the family table.
The feeding of the 5,000 is a well known story. But as you read / hear it today what strikes you? What is Jesus focused on? What are the disciples concerned with? Some argue that it happened literally as it’s written: a few foodstuffs miraculous multiplied. Others would say that the words of Jesus must have moved the people to share what they intended to hoard for themselves. Both are miraculous, as something about Jesus gives breath to a generosity, an inter-connectedness and inter-dependency that seemed absent before. Even the disciples are transformed by the experience. It’s more than about believing or doubting. It seems to be about hunger and thirst, growth and questioning, being found and finding what is sought.
Questions for Going Deeper