Jesus Goes Local
Excerpt from Matthew 15:32-39
“The disciples said to him, ‘Where are we to get enough bread in the desert to feed so great a crowd?’ Jesus asked them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ They said, ‘Seven, and a few small fish.‘”
Reflection by Felix Carrion
A colleague of mine has a cartoon on his office door about the biblical story of the multiplication of the bread. The multitude is seen behind a few folks holding baskets filled with bread. One of them is asking, “Did Jesus create these locally?”
One of the main reasons for supporting sustainable farming and local farms is that it helps to build community where people feel welcome, safe, invested in, sustained. The building of community is at the heart of this story. The people gathered to see and hear Jesus start off as a “crowd.” But by the time Jesus shares the kingdom of God and breaks bread with them, they have become a community. He doesn’t send the people away as the disciples had suggested when faced with the daunting task of feeding thousands of people. He multiplies the resources right there in their midst and feeds them. Jesus goes local.
For many this story is known as the miraculous multiplication of bread and fish by Jesus, with the implication that the baskets spill over with more and more food every time someone reaches in and takes their share. Yet, for others, the miracle is in how Jesus opens the hearts and minds of the people, unleashing the generosity of men, women and children, who share with all others the little food they have in their bags and baskets. The miracle is that each of them now begins to experience in their sharing the full spirit and power of an unconnected crowd turned into a loving community.
If Jesus thought globally and acted locally, how much more do we want do the same? In supporting everything that builds community we follow the example of Jesus and help change the world, beginning with the world right in front of us.
O God, you always begin right here with each of us, and in so doing begin with all of us. We ask that you now empower us to follow Jesus’ example in becoming builders of community in the places we live and share with all others. Help us to go local. Amen.
About the Author
Felix Carrion is Coordinator of The Stillspeaking Ministry, United Church of Christ.
Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.
“The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; [the Lord] upholds the orphan and the widow.”
– Psalm 146:7-9
“I trace the rainbow through the rain and see the promise is not in vain.”
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