5th Day of Christmas – The Gift of Sharing

(I’m following these prompts for the 12 Days of Christmas)

John 6:1-14

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

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.”

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This is one of the sumptuous spreads the Turkish Community in Dallas shared with us and many more of our Christian and Jewish friends. Their tradition of sharing food was one of the main reasons they were able to befriend those of us who were, to them, “the other”. It’s said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – Jesus knew that one of the ways to anyone’s heart is through feeding them. It’s hard to listen to a lesson or appreciate those around you when your stomach is growling. That’s why I support hunger programs in Tacoma, like Fish Food Bank and Nativity House, and also Bread for the World.

Advent: Justice #EvergreenAdvent

Amos 5:23-24

Away with the noise of your songs!
    I will not listen to the music of your harps.
But let justice roll on like a river,
    righteousness like a never-failing stream!

Justice

I had a really hard time finding a photo for “Justice”. With the pressing and depressing scenes and events of the past couple of weeks, along with the guilt of white privilege weighing on my soul, I have been near to despair. And then I remembered that I’m not called to right all the wrongs. This is a small “something” that we at Bethany Presbyterian Church can do and have done. We created this garden for our neighborhood here in Tacoma, and we give the plots to anyone who asks for one. The only stipulation is that any excess food grown cannot be sold, but it must be given to Fish Food Bank. It’s a tiny thing we can do to begin to address the ills of poverty and hurt. It’s not everything, but it IS something.

Saturday and Sunday

I spent the better part of yesterday at Northwest Tacoma FISH Food Bank registering voters. We didn’t have too many takers – most of the people who came in said they were already registered. The ones who weren’t either didn’t speak any English (we have a large population of Ukrainians here), or they were had been incarcerated for a felony. I was able to tell a couple of them that they were eligible to vote if they were no longer under the control of the Department of Corrections (no longer on Parole, and not on Probation). One of those fellows, who said he had never been convicted – just accused – back in 2000 and spent 2 weeks in jail before he got out with no probation or parole – thought he would never be able to vote again. In Washington, at least, the denial of voting rights ends when incarceration, parole and probation end, so EX-felons can vote here. I love this state. Capture

Representative Derek Kilmer – D-Wash 2 – dropped by the Food Bank (presumably to apologize for the actions of the House of Representatives in cutting funding for SNAP (formerly Food Stamps)) and to work for a while as a volunteer. He’s such a nice fellow and really interested in the problems of his constituents. Capture

The Oregon Ducks had a by-week this week, so I was able to go to the Food Bank without feeling deprived of my Ducks. And, while they haven’t moved up from #2 to #1 in the polls, support for Alabama at #1 seems to be eroding! #GoDucks Capture

And how about them Cowboys! The game wasn’t broadcast on the West Coast, but they won 31-7 over the Rams. Maybe Big Al is right, we jinx them when we watch.

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Nah! I’m still going to watch when I get the chance!