I was asked to speak on, Tuesday, September 1 at a Community Celebration organized by Jacob Blake’s family. The key words I was given to prepare my remarks were: community, unity, humanity, and healing.
The story that is guiding me right now from scripture – that is bringing me focus, strength and compassion for this journey of life – is a story that is found in scripture six different times and needs more of our attention – it is the feeding of the multitudes. Four thousand or five thousand men plus women and children, which could be as many as 12,000-15,000 fed – with leftovers, starting with only five loaves and two fish or seven loaves and a few fish – depending on which version of the story you read (you have six to pick from).
It is a story of people longing for healing and a Healer who sees their pain and has compassion for them. Jesus moves through the crowd laying on hands and bringing new life.
It is a story of disciples who want to send the people away – they are overwhelmed by the idea of caring for them all. Jesus calls them to task and says to the disciples – You give them something to eat.
It is a story that calls us to see that when we think there is no way – when we think there isn’t enough – that with God there is always a way and always more than enough.
KENOSHA – Jesus sees us – knows our pain and has compassion on us. Jesus is about the business of bringing healing and wholeness to this community. Jesus knows that this community is hungry.
Hungry for justice and peace – Hungry for unity and compassion – Hungry for HOPE.
And Jesus says to all of us here today – YOU GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO EAT. We are called to feed the hunger in Kensoha, in Wisconsin, across this country.
We are called to feed the hunger for justice and peace – through peaceful protest, using our vote to bring change, and using our voices to hold this country accountable to live into our values of life, liberty and justice for all.
We are called to feed the hunger for unity and compassion by seeing the image of God in every person we meet and treating them with the dignity every person desires and deserves. By a willingness to work together, across every kind of difference humans have created, to work for the common good of all and not just a few.
We are called to feed the hunger for hope – hope that comes from a school system that gives equal opportunity and is a springboard toward opportunity and not a pipeline to prison. Hope that comes from jobs that pay a living wages. Hope that comes from a medical system that values the lives of brown and black folks and won’t turn us away at the ER door. Hope that comes from knowing you are valued and seen and respected within this community.
We are called to feed the hungry – because no one should be hungry for dignity because we see their full humanity. No one should be hungry for a sense of belonging, because we are one human family, one human race. No one should walk in fear because of the color of their shin because we are one human family, one human race, created by God whose imagination is beyond our wildest dreams.
Kenosha, let the story of the feeding of the multitudes guide our steps towards healing the soul of this place and the soul of our nation. See with eyes of compassion. Know that there is more than enough to go around. Let this story give us strength to follow Jesus’ command to feed those who are hungry for justice and peace, compassion and unity – those who are hungry for Hope. God’s work. Our hands. Amen