What can happen if we share? A beautiful miracle?

Look! Have you seen? Our earthly surroundings are awakening in miraculous re-birth! Point out these miracles to your family — and your friends — with awe in your voice…

Look at those tiny flowers! God has told the earth to wake up.
What other spring miracles can you find?

Make a daily habit to put God’s name with the miracles you see.

A Bleeding Heart prepares to bloom

Use instances of God at work in spring miracles as an opening to talking about the miracle we are studying – Jesus feeding over 5,000 people. Again, with awe in your voice…

God planned for plants to wake up in the spring. What a miracle God has given us!

Miracles point out a powerful God at work. What sort of power do you see happening in the miracle of Jesus feeding over 5,000 people?

A painting of the Feeding of the 5,000+

The obvious answer is that with a simple act of thanks to God (John 6:11a), Jesus unpacks a young boy’s lunch of five small loaves of bread and two fish, into a meal for more than 5,000. (There were even leftovers from this meal! 12 baskets of uneaten food.)

But could this multiplying have happened in a surprising but equally powerful way? Scholars have debated about what is the real miracle in this story. Is it that Jesus multiplied the bread and fish, or that the people really did bring along a little lunch and ended up sharing it?

Rev. Doug Norris shares this:

Open quote markPerhaps the little guy inspired others to share. Wouldn’t it be something if the miracle was a miracle of sharing, as people, one by one, pulled food out of their backpacks and shared with those around them? Perhaps Jesus walked through the crowd, encouraging, touching, blessing, visiting, and the stingy, the selfish, and the hoarders gradually warmed up, and realized their potential by not only sharing their food, but by experiencing the joy of doing something significant with and for Jesus.

A miracle made possible with sharing. We can participate in this!

But the sharing habit needs to be taught. Here are some possibilities for building sharing muscles:

  • Go grocery shopping together to bring a food item to the worship service on the first Sunday of every month. This month, the L.O.V.E. Thy Neighbor program, which makes lunches for the homeless and distributes them at Saturday morning breakfast at St. Andrews, will benefit from our food sharing.
  • Make a meal for a stressed family. Involve your kids in planning a meal, shopping and preparation and delivery. I still remember a church member who brought us a meal after I had been in the hospital. She very patiently unloaded our supper and her small children and brought them to the door to deliver the meal. What a great lesson her kids learned that day – service!
  • Set up birthday parties with gifts to designated for others. Have party participants bring a wish-list item for the Human Society.
  • Spring clean inside the house by selecting out-grown clothes or toys to donate. Include the kids in dropping off the delivery.
  • Spring clean outside by involving the family in tidying up an elderly neighbor’s yard.
In what way will you create a beautiful shared miracle?

a blue line

Photo credits:
Bleeding Hearts flower is from my archives.
The Feeding of over 5,000 people by Jim Padgett, from now-out-of-print Read’n Grow Picture Bible, via Wikimedia Commons, courtesy of Sweet Publishing, Ft. Worth, TX, and Gospel Light, Ventura, CA. Released under a Creative Commons License.

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Building Hope

Participants on the mission trip to Henderson Settlement

Last week, on the Appalachia mission trip, we worked at building.

All 36 of us (did I count right?) ages seven and up, mostly from FUMC in Ann Arbor, Michigan, formed teams and worked in different locations around Henderson Settlement in Frakes, Kentucky.

On our first day, we didn’t know it, but we were building hope.

The Henderson Settlement signWe found out that hope can be in short supply in Bell County, Kentucky: Over one-third of residents (36%) live in poverty. Of the 136 families on Henderson’s “helping” list, the average household income is $12,864. Hope desperately needed here.

So we built! Adding skirting and siding makes for a warmer, more pleasant looking house. When your home base transpires, you feel hope.

a crew of kids puts on skirtingThe team works at siding

We mucked the barn (a more agreeable home for goats and for goat-workers!) and dug a trench to help fix someone’s water problem. A little bit of hope, restored.

Mucking out the goat barnA crew digs a trench for a water line

Kids and adults, painting, posthole-digging, persevering in spite of setbacks… Working side by side…

Engaged in hope-building.

Painting & beadboard installation crewtrenching pair

Working in the greenhousea team works at building a corral

Spreading gravel, counting soup labels, transplanting seedlings, trenching…

God through his Holy Spirit, working among us, spreading hope.

Open quote mark And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love.  Romans 5:5

And amazingly enough, in the midst of all of our work, we also had fun! Friendships flourished!

playing a board gamethe finale of the MYF Benediction?

Enjoy the slideshow below.

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Join us next year!

Photo credits:
Taken by members of the mission team and by Henderson Settlement staff. Used with permission.

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