Monday, August 4, 2014

The Leftovers

The bits let over, what of those? Pieces left strewn around, no longer required. A plethora of scraps, yet Christ leaves none discarded but calls for all to be gathered in, saved and treasured.
Baskets filled with an extravagance, excess cherished. Symbolism that can only be imagined. A hungry crowd, a boy’s packed lunch, a great big picnic. People fed and still enough to go on sharing the blessing, abundance, and grace of God. Spill the Beans, Issue 12
The leftovers, pieces of pieces, what good are they? They’ve been handled by others. Who knows what kind of germs they harbor? Who knows if they washed their hands or not? Who would want the leftovers?
I’ve read this story before. I remember my grandma telling me this story in Sunday school. I remember thinking how could Jesus bless five loaves of bread and two fish, feed the people and still have twelve baskets full of leftovers. Some think that because the boy gave up his lunch to the disciples the others there felt guilty and gave up some of theirs too.
That’s cool, but what about the leftovers they gathered up? What did Jesus expect them to do with the leftovers? Matthew doesn’t tell us that.
If we read ahead the disciples get in a boat and leave Jesus to go away by himself. What did they do with the leftovers?
What do you do with leftovers? Do you keep leftovers? Personally I love leftovers. Some dishes just get better as they age a little while in the refrigerator.
But what did Jesus have the disciples do with the pieces of the pieces? What would you do if you had 12 baskets of leftover fish and bread? You’d have to do something with it because it wouldn’t be long and the fish would begin to smell bad.
Some would focus on the miracle of feeding 5,000 men plus women and children with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. But the lesson could be about what happened after, with the leftovers.
Think about what we do when we have leftover meat from the Antique Walk or leftover dressing or pies from the Supper. We give it away. We share our excess with those who can use it. Well, some of us can use it and some of us just have room in our frig’s for extra food.
Anyway, we share and maybe that’s what Jesus’ disciples did with the leftovers. And maybe that’s the real lesson here for us today, sharing the leftovers.
So, that leads me to this. What do we have leftover that we can share? And who would we share it with?
Today we celebrate and remember the Lord’s Last Supper. Today we break bread that someone brought and is sharing with us and we serve each other the cup and the bread. We share.
We share when we invite friends over for lunch or coffee or conversation. Last week we heard Jesus talk about what the kingdom of heaven was like. Maybe the kingdom of heaven is in these everyday things that we share in community with our neighbors and the strangers who come knocking on our doors. Maybe the kingdom of heaven is discovered and shared in even the tiniest crumb as much as in the whole loaf of bread.
So, maybe, the miracle is in the everyday sharing, the everyday feeding, the everyday conversation.
Maybe the miracle is in the leftovers that we often don’t see much value in. What are you going to do with the leftovers you have?

Thanks be to God for his grace. Amen.