Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Loaves and the Fishes

At Chapel this morning the Gospel reading was Mark Chapter 6, the story of the loaves and the fishes. The chaplain said this was an example of good leadership on the part of the Lord, but not the disciples. The Lord looked on the multitude with compassion. The disciples said "How are we going to feed all of them?" The chaplain said the disciples were like a group of sergeants who look out at a crowd of soldiers who did not bring enough MREs and grumble about having to share their field rations with unprepared troops.

He converted the metaphor to military. "We are all leaders." Localizing this story reminded me of a retelling of the parable of the Good Samaritan I heard at an inner city Church. The African-American pastor retold the story with the victim from the neighborhood being pistol whipped and left for dead on the street in front of the Church. Those who passed by were a local pastor and a football player from the neighborhood with an NFL Contract. The Good Samaritan was a Man from the whitest, richest local suburb.

At the end of the story, the pastor, in a resounding voice, asked the children assembled at the front of the congregation, "Who is this man's neighbor?" The reply came from a smiling little girl who said, "The Football Player!" The congregation broke up with laughter. But the real point had been made. The pastor put most unlikely man in the role of the Samaritan.

The parables and stories, retold in this way, are delightful.