Everything you wanted to know about Christianity
at the Anglican Parish of the Otways
Please join me each week for our reflections
of sermons conducted during our church service.
Plus, occasional splashes of humour and epiphanies!
With much Love and Blessings
Rev. Jenny Brandon
WHEN working with our indigenous students
in the Northern Territory, one young man,
who pretty much only owned the clothes
he stood up in, was able to buy some
shoes, the only shoes he owned.
They were his pride and joy.
But when another student was in need of a pair of shoes,
he willingly gave up those shoes
because he deemed his fellow student’s need to be greater.
It never ceased to amaze us that these kids
that had nothing
were always willing to share what little they had.
Generosity such as this I think is very humbling.
The miracle of the loaves and fishes
could be described as a miracle of generosity.
First there was the marvelous generosity of the boy,
who with his gift of his lunch,
made the miracle possible.
It was a small thing in itself, but for the little boy
it was enormous because he was offering all he had.
It is easy to give something that we won’t really miss,
but when the gift is as desperately needed by the giver
as by the receiver, we see the true definition of sacrificial giving.
Secondly there is the generosity of Jesus.
To appreciate this we need to consider
the circumstances of the miracle.
Jesus had just learned that his cousin John had been murdered.
He needed peace and quiet
and had set off across to the far side of the lake
to escape the throngs of people that surrounded him.
But when he stepped out of the boat
he found yet another throng of people waiting for him,
5,000 men and who knows how many women and children,
we are not told!
He could have got angry or self indulgent, sent them away,
and taken the time out he needed to grieve the death of John,
it would have been quite understandable.
Instead he had compassion for them
and gave himself completely to them.
It is easy to reach out to others
when it doesn’t cause us any inconvenience.
Not so easy when it is sprung on us at a difficult moment,
when we have to set aside our plans, and forget about ourselves.
Then there is the sheer generosity of his response
to the hunger of the people.
Not only did he feed them,
but he saw to it that each got as much as they wanted,
and there was still 12 baskets of food left over.
For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, ‘Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.’ 15 They did so and made them all sit down. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces. Luke 9:10-17
Generosity is not always about giving things or money.
More often it is about giving of ourselves,
of our time, our gifts.
Giving things can be easy,
but giving of ourselves is never easy.
Jesus is our example.
He gave of himself in so many ways
until he gave us the ultimate gift of his life.
As the people went back to their homes at the end of that day
they knew that they had experienced the goodness
and love of God,
the love Paul talks about so much,
a love from which nothing can separate us.
In the Eucharist we taste the love of God.
The proof that we have experienced that love
will be our willingness to love others.
We may be able to give only in small ways and in small amounts.
However, from the little boy in the gospel
we see that a small amount
can become a big amount
when placed in the hands of the Lord.
The Lord be with you.
About the author
Rev. Jenny is an ordained Priest of the Anglican Diocese delivering services at Anglican Parish of the Otway churches every week.
With great depth of knowledge and a spiritual practice that shows she walks her talk and has taken her to the far reaches of N.T. Australia working with indigenous youth and elders.