Amy Jones,
Agape Coordinator
Dear God, we come to worship you today. 
We come to pray, and listen.
You always hear us. 
Help us to hear you. Amen
Scripture
John 6:1-15

1After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. 2A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. 3Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. 4Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. 5When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” 6He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. 7Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” 8One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” 10Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. 11Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” 13So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. 14When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.” 15When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
Devotional
In my Wesleyan tradition, we have a special kind of meal sharing called a “Love Feast.” It is usually a rather simple meal, sometimes soup and bread, or very simple sandwiches. It is intended to recall the meals Jesus shared with disciples during his ministry and express the kind of community and fellowship enjoyed by the family of Christ.

When I worked in children’s ministry, I would share love feasts with the children every week and the meal was always the same: crackers and water. It was always a feast. That was always the word I would use. It takes only one precocious child to recognize that there isn’t anything “feast-like” about crackers and water. These are perhaps the most ubiquitous snacks of childhood. I would always tell the children that the things we ate didn’t make the meal a feast, it was who we shared it with that made it a feast.

The miracle of the loaves and fishes often seems like some kind of magician’s trick that Jesus performs for an expectant audience, but I don’t think it was anything like that. No one would have left home to follow an itinerant preacher without taking food with them. A young boy starts it all with one act of generosity. Jesus shows the people the loaves and fishes, blesses them and distributes them for everyone to have as much as they like. And what happens? Well, no one wants to be out done by a young boy, so when the basket gets to you, in goes the bread you brought for yourself for the journey. And when your neighbor sees that you put in some bread, she adds the fish she had but didn’t want to offer up before. And so it goes throughout the crowd. Everyone pitches in what they have, especially when they see that the person next to them has given theirs. And guess what? There’s more than enough!

There always was enough. It’s just that no one wanted to admit that there was enough, and no one wanted to risk giving up their resources to the rest of the community. When the loaves and fishes stayed in their satchels, there could never have been enough for everyone. One person could never have had enough to share with five thousand people. But five thousand people have more than enough to share together, in fact they had left overs!

The young boy knew something the rest of them didn’t: it isn’t what you share that makes it a feast, it is who you share it with. The real miracle was not the multiplication of food, but the multiplication of love and generosity. 

What makes your community special? Who in your community makes a simple snack a feast just because they show up? How could you renew your commitment to this family of Christians? No community is perfect. What does this community lack? What remains to be built or created? What could you give to support your community so that together we build the kind of community and the world we want to live in?
Prayer
God of generosity, give us the courage to share what we have for the sheer joy of loving each other. Amen
Amy Jones
Amy Jones, Agape Coordinator
Amy Jones our Agape Coordinator is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. In this tradition, deacons are ordained clergy who bridge the ministry of the church with the needs of the world, and vice versa. In more than 15 years of ministry, she has worked in churches, in children and family ministry, higher education, and nonprofits. In each setting, her focus has been on matching the resources of the church with the needs of the world. Agape Community Kitchen is exactly the type of work she was called to do. 

Amy can be reached by email at: agape@westfieldpc.org.
The Presbyterian Church in Westfield continues to burn as a light in the darkness as our community weathers this fearsome storm of illness. Our reach of care continues to extend far beyond our immediate borders. You can help us make a real impact in the lives of others by joining in our work through your time, your talents, and also in the fruits of your labors.
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