Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” Matthew 14:16
We've just experienced the Twelfth celebrations in Brookeborough. It was a day of colour, noise, and people from all over our little corner of the Province. It was a very good-natured and peaceful event, which was enjoyed by folks from every part of the village. In short - this is everything that is good and true about our society, in that we can come together in peace, and share our culture. There was a distinct absence of the violence that dogged the celebrations in other parts of the country.
It was also a day of burgers, hotdogs, salads and queues! The weather was almost perfect for the day, which brought large amounts of supporters along to our beautiful village. They needed to be fed, and many of the local churches took the opportunity to extend a hand of friendship, fellowship and food in the attempt to raise some much needed funds for the different projects.
Aghavea was no different in that respect - catering in the local Orange Hall, and serving burgers and hotdogs in probably the best site in the middle of the village. While we were trying to raise funds for our Building Project, it was my prayer that we were doing more than just that. Had we raised a single pound in profit, I would have considered it a success if we were able to reach out to those in particular need at a particular time. In our case it was feeding the hungry, providing for the thirsty - yet we also had the chance to reach out a hand of friendship and love to those whom we served.
Jesus asked his disciples to feed the multitudes at one stage. They had followed Jesus out into the fields and hills, far away from the towns and villages. They were hungry, and few had prepared for the long day. The disciples were horrified when Jesus asked them to feed the 5000 men, women and children! Where would we find food at this hour? How would we pay for it? Yet Jesus had a plan!
OK, so we had no miracles today. We used the burgers and sausages that we had already brought along with us. We had taken bookings for the "sit-down" meals. We were prepared in advance - yet that makes no difference. We were working on behalf of the church - which means we were working on behalf of God. We fed the people, and offered the same experience to the disciples that day - namely, here's the physical food, but the spiritual food is much more important!
I would like to thank all those who helped out today in any way - those who cooked, those who served, those who tidied up, those who gave donations, those who helped prepare the halls and stall, those who came along and allowed us to fellowship with you in any small but wonderful way. I hope you enjoyed the hard work just as much as I did. I hope this enthuses you to do more, just as it did for me!
Jesus still asks his church to feed his people - not just physically but also spiritually. Let's get cracking on this together!