“Taking the five loaves and the two fish, [Jesus} looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand [people].” 

Mark 6:41-44

Happy New Year! 

We did it again! 

Coming into December, I told you that it was estimated that we needed approximately $38,500 to cover the operational budget for 2023. Because of your faithful and generous gifts, we were able to not only cover the operational budget but also put close to $8,000 into savings. This money will not only help us to start 2024 on the right foot but is a powerful testament to the miracles that we can achieve when we work together for God's Kingdom in the world. 

Your giving reminds me of the story of the feeding of 5,000 that appears in all Gospels. Theologian John Dominic Crossan proposed the interpretation that the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 wasn't necessarily a supernatural multiplication of physical loaves and fish. Instead, Crossan suggested that the miracle lay in Jesus inspiring the crowd to share what they had.

He argued that in a scenario where resources were scarce as they are in our present day. Jesus' act of sharing his own meal prompted others in the crowd to do the same, leading to an abundance of shared resources. This interpretation emphasizes the power of communal sharing, generosity, and the potential for abundance through collective action, rather than focusing on a miraculous multiplication of physical items.

Could Jesus have multiplied the fish and bread and filled the baskets by himself? Absolutely. It would be a testament to the fact that Christ cares for us and desires that all our needs - especially the ones for our physical bodies - are important and worthy of miracles. But that is not how Christ chooses to show up in our world. Jesus desires to work with us, together, as a community of believers to achieve something that we as an individual can not.

In 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, Paul uses the metaphor of the human body to explain the unity and diversity within the church. He compares the church to a physical body, highlighting that just as a body is made up of many parts, each with its unique function, the church is composed of diverse individuals with various gifts and roles. Yet, despite these differences, all believers are part of the unified body of Christ. Financial gifts, while important, are not the only thing that helps the Lord of Life to be the community where all can share in God's love. I am also grateful to everyone who also gave to their time and talents this past year. 

The concept that we are all one body underscores the idea that every member of the church plays a crucial role, and together they form a unified entity, much like the different parts of a body work together for the proper functioning of the whole.

This understanding fosters the idea of mutual support, care, and cooperation among believers, emphasizing that each person contributes uniquely to the larger purpose and mission of the church, much like different body parts contribute to the health and functioning of a body.

Each of you is important. You are important to the life and well being of this community. You are important to me. You are important to the God of all creation who desires to be with us, in community with us, in all trials and joys that life brings us. You will always have a place here no matter what role you take at Lord of Life. We all have a variety of gifts that make the miracles that happen here each week possible. Thank you for your continual engagement and generosity. 

May God continue to bless our beloved community this new year,

Pastor Adam