“We have only five loaves of bread and two fish-” Luke 9:13b
This is the response of the disciples when Jesus challenges them to feed a large hungry crowd. Jesus pushes on. Blessing and breaking this basic offering, he instructs the twelve to distribute it to the people. The gospel succinctly records that “all ate and were satisfied,” (Luke 9:17).
The feeding of the 5000 points us to the abundance of God’s provision in Jesus Christ – what we call the kingdom. In this unlikely miracle, the disciples find themselves in the middle of a Eucharist – abundance has been manifested where only scarcity could be seen. A small group of people, responding to the promptings of Jesus, take what resource they have, organise themselves, step out in courage and change the world. And in this way the kingdom of God is revealed.
This past Wednesday evening, 29 parishioners from St Barnabas contributed to the Ealing Accountability Assembly. Together with 114 other Ealing Citizens from 8 institutions, we secured commitments for affordable housing and renters rights, living wages, mental health and special education needs from all the candidates for leader of the council. Proceedings were opened by the joyful stylings of the St Barnabas Gospel Choir and Henry Tozer. Mtr. Fiona Jack was co-chair, Robin Griffiths introduced the housing section and Shine Raj confidently led negotiations on the housing asks. Ellen Coleman, Jill Dodd and Linda Jamil gave a series of incredibly powerful testimonies in the Special Education Needs section. (Read more about the Assembly here). A small band of people, using what limited resources we have (our stories, our talents, our energy, our time), joined hands with others and went to work for change. Nothing glamourous or revolutionary. Just the cumulation of small acts of courage and faith by ordinary people, organised around a clear purpose.
The needs of our broken world will always loom large. The five thousand hungry people exist in many forms. Our first response is often understandably but “we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,”. And yet, Christ gathers us together and empowers us to make Eucharist in the world in his name despite the odds. Through his Holy Spirit, he feeds us with his body and blood at the altar and then empowers us to “go”, taking the gift of our lives to share. This is how Christians have changed the world throughout history. This is how we will do the same so that all may eat and be satisfied. To learn more about community organising and the work of Ealing Citizens, speak to me or any member of the clergy.
With every blessing for this season of resurrection,