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“Equal rights for others do not mean fewer rights for you.  It’s not pie.”

This is one of those sayings that I dearly love even if it does beg the question.  So what is like pie?

We’ve been taught to think that universities are limited in the numbers of young learners they can accept. We are told that affirmative action is why there aren’t enough seats for other students. Yet, class after class is canceled when not enough students enroll.  Credit courses and continuing education classes alike suffer this fate.

Jobs? Common knowledge is that if we let those people in and give them jobs, then there won’t be enough jobs for the rest of us.  Of course, we are also supposed to believe that employment is up.  And, when employment is up, people spend more money on homes, cars, food and clothing.  That would mean more jobs, maybe not making these items but selling and maintaining and keeping them clean.

Whenever I hear someone talking about how generosity to “those people” is what has cost us, I think about the loaves and fishes.  For those of you who don’t remember the specifics, here is the story of Christ feeding the multitude as it is written in the Book of John.

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”  He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there).  Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”  So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

Even if the boy was worried, John doesn’t say anything about him complaining to Jesus.  “Wait minute! If I give this to you, I won’t have enough.  But if the boy did complain, I imagine Christ telling him.  “Don’t worry.  It isn’t pie.  There will be enough for everyone.


As our congregation, we are looking at some big expenses.  The biggest?  A new roof.

I’m not even sure how many thousands of dollars that is going to be but it won’t come cheap.  And the problem really isn’t the total. It’s the fact that so many people have been hooked by that number.  Have a fund-raising suggestion that is less than the total?  Sad, sad shakes of the head.  It just won’t be enough.

Well, duh.

Okay, it’s not the most polite response ever but if you want to get a ruling elder’s attention well duh is the way to go.

Obviously $500 or even $2000 is less than tens of thousands.  I may not be a math major but I get it.  They are less.  It is more.

But Christ has a habit of working with the very least.  A mustard seed.  A few loaves.  A handful of fishes.  Christ can make it work.

And when we are working for him, in his name, we can do it too.  If I do a small part and you do a small part and someone over there also does a small part, we’ve accomplished something.

I’m not saying that a new roof is a matter of faith and faith alone.  It will also take a group of us each doing our one small part.  Together we’ll pay for a roof, fill the food pantry and gather supplies for local children who don’t have even a quarter for a cheap folder.  Because there is something each of us can do.


Yesterday we had a guest preacher who discussed the feeding of the 5000.  The interesting thing was that he discussed it without ever discussing the actual meal.  Instead he talked about what was going on in Christ’s life at the time.

John the Baptist had just been beheaded.  John was Christ’s cousin and fellow minister.  He was a friend and someone who truly understood who Christ was.  His death had to be the kind of blow that Jesus felt in his chest.  Christ tried to take off and regroup.  He needed some time to get his head back together.

But the people needed him just as badly.  Everywhere he went, there they were.  Asking for help.  Calling for his blessing.  Reaching, demanding, draining.

It would have been so easy for Christ to turn his back.  It would have been so simple to refuse to see what he could do.  Instead, he saw them.  He reacted to them.  He interacted with them and he cared.

Seeing people and caring.  Are these not the greatest acts of kindness?

The next time you check out at a store, look the clerk in the eye.  Speak to her.  Listen to her response.  You’ll still have plenty of time to go about your day.

We encounter so many people everyday who just need a little kindness.  Sure there will still be things that require a lot of hard work.  But pair this with kindness and see what happens.

I dare you.


In adult Sunday school, we’ve been reading through a series of devotionals.  Each is written from the point-of-view of a different person in the Bible who encountered Christ.  This means that each is written in the first person but in fairly modern language.  I have to admit that it took a bit for me to “get” this new form for familiar Bible stories.  But now that I’ve gotten over myself, I notice that these retellings help me notice new facets of each story.

This quote reminded me of the story of the Loaves and Fishes.  How many people sitting there that day had the power to help?  But they just needed to see what they could do.  Fortunately, a forward thinking boy was there to make the initial offering that led to one of Christ’s greatest miracles.

Makes me wonder – what are we each being called on to do?


Holy Father,
So many things come into my orbit from day to day.
Help me to see what I should give space in my life
and what I should release so that it may benefit someone else.

Glossy magazines and Pins tell me
that I deserve more,
that I deserve the best,
that I have earned it.

Help me turn from this call to acquire.
Help me hear your voice
urging me to take only what I need
and pass on the rest,
as the crowd passed along
the loaves and fishes.
They found that they had
more than enough to share.

Let me be so aware.
Let me see that there is
more than enough to share.





Have a Mary Little Christmas

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