Have a box decorated beautifully with a bow, but it’s empty, and a baggie of off brand fish crackers. Say, “Which one do you think is a gift? (yes someone might say the fish-go with it!) The pretty box? What do you think is in there? The snack crackers? Why do you say that? Let’s open the box. Hmmmm it’s empty, it’s pretty but doesn’t help us really at all. The crackers are ordinary and plain but they will feed us and we can share with our friends.
Do you like getting gifts? We tend to think of gifts as elaborately packaged items that cost a lot of money. When someone say they have a gift for us we kinda secretly hope that it’s that expensive new toy or video game that we want or for adults, let’s face it just some money. But sometimes the best gifts are not in a pretty bow or something expensive. I know my best gifts have been my kids (although one could argue that they are expensive) and homemade things from friends, parishioners or students. Sometimes when we offer a hug or our time or something that we made ourselves, we are giving the best gift ever that we can share over and over with lots of people and it never runs out.
Our bible story today is what happens after Jesus feeds 5,000 people bread and fish and there were left overs. Jesus tells the crowds gathered that he is the bread of life that comes to all people from God no matter if they deserve it or not. Now the crowds were complaining that Jesus said he was the bread of life come down from heaven as they thought that was ridiculous! He was just Joseph’s kid, no one special and certainly not everyone should deserve God’s blessings. Some people believed (and some still do) that you had to follow a bunch of rules to get God’s blessings of life forever and that it would be a special and magical event, not some ordinary guy with ordinary bread and fish. But Jesus says no! God’s gift is in the ordinary! God comes to us with everything we need in Jesus, a human just like us and yet not like us because he is God’s son. Jesus shows us that God comes to us, meets us in our daily lives with what we need but we don’t always see it because it’s so ordinary. We don’t give a second thought to the lunch we’ll go home to, or the actual HOME we’ll go to, the family that we have, all ways that Jesus meets us where we are.
Jesus says that we are all drawn to him and so drawn or gathered to God and that not one of us will be lost. Part of being in God’s life is that we are connected to each other too. We might complain that we didn’t get a good enough gift or that we don’t see how something is a gift at all! But God promises to come to us over and over with all that we need with enough to share through the love of Jesus.
Jesus the bread of life, you give us what we need to serve your world and to share with other people. Help us to see your love in ordinary things in our lives. Amen
Have lots of snack size baggies, fish crackers, colored note cards, hand sanitizer, pens or markers available on a table. Remind people to hand sanitize and then to put some crackers in baggie. Have them write on a card, “You are a gift from God” and put the note in the baggie. Have them make several to take with them to hand out to whomever they wish to bless that day with the love of Jesus.
+You are a gift from God+