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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, March 5, 2012

Plans Interupted

(A reflection on Mark 6: 30-44, 52)

The wording of a particular incident recorded in Mark 6 is peculiar and has caught my attention. It is the familiar story of the feeding of the 5,000, sometimes called the story of the loaves and fishes, however it is another aspect of the story that has drawn my eye today.
In Mark’s version of this event, Jesus’ disciples have just returned from a big mission trip. They are excited but tired, and Jesus starts to take them on retreat to rest. When they get to the place of retreat, they discover a big crowd there. Rather than going someplace else or sending these unexpected people away, Jesus recognizes this as an opportunity to share the message of God’s caring, and begins to interact with these strangers. His attitude is one of welcome and kindly compassion. It is clear that he likes these people and begins talking with them, thereby showing the spirit of God’s gracious and generous love to them.
As the day wears on, the disciples get impatient and, under the guise of concern, suggest to Jesus that he send the people away to “buy something for themselves to eat.” Jesus has assumed the role of a caring and gracious host, however, and says no, “You give them something to eat.” The disappointed disciples are clearly not excited about this idea, but Jesus takes charge and organizes the situation. He invites the people to sit down and has the disciples serve them their bread.
The phrase that really caught my attention in this reading is, “and he divided the two fish among them.” This hands-on image of Jesus personally preparing the food for this unexpected crowd is a little astonishing, and shows the extent he will go to live out his caring for them. This is in stark contrast to the disciples who wanted to send them away. Instead, it is the disciples Jesus sends away while he says farewell to his new friends.
Mark’s contrast of the difference between Jesus’ attitude and that of the disciples is clearly intentional. The final notation on the matter occurs a few verses later as this writer leaves us with something to reflect on. He says, “They (the disciples) were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.”
Which attitude do we reflect towards the people who interrupt our plans? Do we see them as the heart of our purpose for being on this earth or an annoying interruption? Do we see these people as p--God’s beloved children, or as a distraction and an annoying interference? In my agenda driven, objective oriented world, I’m afraid my attitude has too often been the latter. Like the disciples in Mark's story, this seems to be a hard lesson for me to learn, but when I stop to think about it, what could possibly matter more?
Posted by Carman

3 comments:

  1. excellent reflection Carman and very timely!

    this really is a lesson that i need to learn and one that i have struggled with for years. i tend to be fairly planned and structured and at times do not deal with the minor annoyances graciously.

    i really appreciate this blog post this morning! you have brightened my day!

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  2. John,
    Thanks for your comment. It is always reassuring to know someone is reading, and always gratifying when the blog resonates with people. We love to receive comments.
    Carman

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  3. we certainly do! LOL!

    i am doing my best to work your thoughts into my life and planning... i am usually too "planned"...

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