Annie and I just got off the phone with Mary Wood, reviewing our fiscal 2020-2021 financial re¬port. Thank God for Mary who translates accountese into English for me. As soon as we have dotted the “t’s” and crossed the “i’s” we will get it out to you. First in line will be the faithful whose generosity keeps the lights on.
The Olympics are offering me numbers that are far more interesting than finances. These Olympians are truly remarkable. Sometimes when the TV coverage includes pieces about the backgrounds of some of the competitors, it makes their feats even more remarkable... ordinary people made extraordi¬nary by striving for exceptional outcomes in nothing less than heroic ways.
Single-minded focus propels them to leap, swim, hurl, run, flip and all the other skills involved in the 46 sports that are part of Tokyo Olympics 2020.
As I watch their wonderful achievements, I find myself hoping I can be one-tenth as dedicated to my faith as the athletes are to honing their skills. (I suspect that many of them have pretty good faith-lives, too.)
As we continue reading our Sunday gospels from John 6, we are hearing about another faith, the faith that will allow the hearers of Jesus to let themselves be fed by what seems the impossible.
Last Sunday we heard of the feeding of the thousands with five barley loaves and two fish. By the way, a footnote reminded me that this story of the miraculous feeding is the only miracle of Jesus that occurs in all four gospels, including Matthew and Mark who tell the story twice. That should tell us something about how important the whole episode was for the early Church. It wasn’t just that Jesus did something for them; He WAS for them.
But being for them meant that He would also ask something of them. When they asked what the works of God were that they had to do in order to continue being beneficiaries, Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
The crowds were so taken with the ‘magic’ they saw, they just weren’t prepared to look within themselves and see if they could receive the ‘message’ that the ‘magic’ represented. If I had been one of them, I’m not so sure I could have really heard Him either.
For example, we know that the Delta variant of the Covid-19 pandemic is a huge threat, and we also know that getting vaccinated will ultimately wipe out the pan¬demic. But while there are places where the variant can go, it will keep multiplying, becoming more and more virulent.
You know I’m no doctor. But I am simply listening to those who are. What does it take for any message to penetrate my will? What kind of ears must I have to hear truth? What kind of eyes must I have to see the dedication of scientists? What kind of heart must I have to forgive the actions of self-serving politicians whose leadership lacks depth - much less length - of vision? Are we left to short-term expediency in place of long-term integrity? One answer: Vaccinate!
I fear I may have mounted a soapbox and I am running the risk of falling off. Still, I must say the air seems a little clearer up here.
If I want to be able to hear Jesus say. “This is my body,” I think I need to do a lot of weed killing to give His words a fertile place to grow. I pray that your clear¬headedness and your loving vision may guide you as well. May we all be Olympians!