One of the best-known gospel stories has to do with Jesus’ feeding of the multitudes with nothing but five loaves of bread and two fish, offered by some who were among the crowd. At the conclusion of the event, we are informed that there were leftovers: twelve baskets full of broken pieces. It was mention of the broken pieces that my attention refocused. Broken pieces. Isn’t that what all of us are in this broken world?
My thoughts go to Israel, Gaza, Syria, Iraq, and well, the whole Middle East. They also go to our own country, in places like Ferguson, Missouri and other places of racial tension and anger and bloodshed. I think of Greensboro and the poor and hungry residents here. I think of the violence against women across the country, of families who are broken because of a multitude of reasons . . . we are indeed a broken world.
Sometimes we take refuge in our Face Book messages, our Twitter accounts, our organizations and places of worship, waiting for the Great Superhero to swoop into our lives and rescue us all. Sometimes we simply feel so overwhelmed that we withdraw into ourselves, our own needs, our own ideas. Sometimes instead, we let our vulnerability to the power of others, their words and their wealth, provide escape routes from the realities we live in every day. We forget our own power, as we cower under the weight of brokenness in our world. We depend on what is beyond our own strength to make everything right. The result simply becomes a life that is more broken. The pieces taunt us and we escape into whatever is available to make us ignore the pain of being broken.
I strain to recognize where the glue is that will mend our societies, our political structures, our battlefield injuries, our hatreds, our efforts to kill possibilities for change. I hope that we can lay down the guns of death, both those real and those symbolic of death. I hope we can discover how to put back together this jigsaw of pieces so that the complete picture will be one of community and progress. I know it is present somewhere in the maze of disarray and splintered society, and our call is to locate the healing and become what we once dreamed of for our lives together. Thus endeth my sermonizing for this day.