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.

This and That

I know, I know. I’ve been sorely remiss in updating this blog. (You’ve heard all of these excuses before.)

What I’ve been doing.

  1. On Thursday I have to give a talk to a bunch of other old people about “The Turks in Dallas.” You’ve probably noticed a couple of times when I’ve mentioned that we were going to have dinner with the Turks, or I’ve talked about our Turkish friends. There’s quite a thriving community of Turks here, and they are wonderful hosts. They are mostly Muslim (about 96% of the population of Turkey is Muslim), and they reached out to the Christians in the area shortly after 9/11. Through the church, we were invited to an Iftar (the traditional breaking of the fast during Ramadan) at the home of a lovely young couple, and since then we have had them to dinner and invited them to a Christmas Eve service at the church. Additionally, their community has a Saturday-night Social a couple of times a month, and we are always on the invitation list. They serve traditional middle Eastern food and have speakers about a variety of topics. Their women’s association, TAWA (Turkish American Women’s Association), has luncheons, and gives classes in Turkish cooking. They also sponsor Friendship Trips to Turkey and the participants are hosted in Turkish homes. We haven’t ever been to Turkey, but it would be nice sometime. At any rate, I’ve been busy boning up on Turkey and writing and practicing my speech.
  2. I’m still very active in the Facebook Presbyterian Women Interest Group. As one of the organizers, I try to keep track of our membership, and to send each new member a note of Welcome when they join. We’ve had an influx of new members since an article about us appeared in the PCUSA Newsletter. I also am an on-line Circle Leader, and help lead the Bible Study on the Beatitudes right here on WordPress (it’s a closed blog, so if you’re interested, leave a comment and I’ll add you to the group.)
  3. I’ve started working on a darling hat for Kate for Christmas (don’t show this to her if you’re reading this). I’m doing it in purple that has sparkles in the yarn. I think it will be just perfect for an almost-10-year-old.
  4. I’ve finished the current book I was reading. You can read my review on my “Books I Have Read” page. It was the newest Jack Reacher, and was pretty good, but not quite up to Lee Child’s usual standards.
  5. The new “Words Matter” study for Advent (expecting the word) is out, and I will be using it for my Advent blog series (Hooray, Abbie is finally going to be blogging regularly again!) You can download the booklet in .pdf format if you want to get a jump on me. This booklet is really expanded from what we have had in the past, with photographs, poetry, and art work. I’m very impressed.
  6. The current book I’m reading is Down We Go: Living into the Wild Ways of Jesus, by Kathy Escobar. It talks about how we should be downwardly mobile, rather than upwardly mobile, if we are going to fulfill Jesus’ mission. I’ll probably be blogging more extensively on this in the coming year. She draws on the Beatitudes and it seems like it is going to fit right in with where the Spirit is leading me in these days of the Occupy Movement.
  7. I continue to update and work on the genealogy, and attempt to put my Legacy posts into a form that I can self-publish.

So you see, I haven’t been wallowing in sloth, even though I haven’t been posting here. From the stats here, it looks like lots of people have found this blog because of my posts about Maggiano’s Thanksgiving Dinner (by the way, we’ll probably do that again this year as we’ll be heading to South Louisiana for Christmas). I hope some of them were tantalized enough to read elsewhere on the blog as well.