Scripture: Mathew 14: 13-21 (GNT)
When Jesus heard the news about John, he left there in a boat and went to a lonely place by himself. The people heard about it, and so they left their towns and followed him by land. Jesus got out of the boat, and when he saw the large crowd, his heart was filled with pity for them, and he healed their sick.
That evening his disciples came to him and said, “It is already very late, and this is a lonely place. Send the people away and let them go to the villages to buy food for themselves.”
“They don’t have to leave,” answered Jesus. “You yourselves give them something to eat!”
“All we have here are five loaves and two fish,” they replied.
“Then bring them here to me,” Jesus said. He ordered the people to sit down on the grass; then he took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, and gave thanks to God. He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. Everyone ate and had enough. Then the disciples took up twelve baskets full of what was left over. The number of men who ate was about five thousand, not counting the women and children.
As a parent of little children, sometimes when fatigue was so great, a simple escape to the laundry to fold washing was luxury! It was not lack of love or commitment, but realization that quiet time offered refreshment. This retelling shows the depth of Jesus’ pastoral care. Jesus withdrew to a deserted place by himself, signally a need for rest. On seeing the crowd though, rather than taking evening rest, he had compassion and cured the sick. Jesus kept giving. While the disciples questioned every step, Jesus blessed and broke bread, ensuring abundance for all to eat and be filled. This is a story of enduring love, gracious hospitality, abundant generosity and deep pastoral care. Where are we called to offer this abundance? How do we find the balance? Where can we assist others to practice selfcare?
Rev Anne Hewitt
When we are calling, you are there, O listening Friend.
When we are fatigued and drawn, you are seeing, O seeing Friend.
When we are saddened and down-hearted, you are caring, O loving Friend.
When we are sleeping and resting, you are watching, O compassionate Friend.
Our loving God,
we come as we are.
We call to you, in honesty,
tired from the week, fatigued by demands,
and longing for rest that will bring refreshment.
Come alongside, and let us know your presence,
O Comforter and Friend.
Amen, Amen, Amen
Rev Anne Hewitt