“And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full.” (Matthew 14:20, NRSV)
The church potluck was a vital part of my faith formation. The body of Christ gathering together in fellowship, making connections across the tables. All the while wondering, “Will there be enough food?”
There were no RSVPs or sign ups. Everyone who came brought a dish. It may have been a new receipe they were trying out, or it was a well-known receipe. At our house it was always my mom’s potatoe salad. If she didn’t make it, people wondered where it was.
I found some old photos from church potlucks of the past. They had set up wooden sawhorses and placed sheets of plywood across them to make tables. Church members were gathered around with their plates and cups, eating and enjoying each other’s company. It wasn’t very fancy. But that wasn’t what was important.
The most important thing was that they were together.
The church dinners have come a long way since then. But one thing remains, the church still gathers around the table to share in the abundance of life. Potlucks and church dinners have been such a cornerstone of our gathering together, it could be considered a sacrament. Because, when we do it well, we meet Jesus at the potluck table.
The image of Jesus feeding the five thousand brings to mind the many potlucks experienced in the church. One of the things you will likely hear at a church potluck is, “Well, we had enough after all.”
With Jesus, there is always enough.
The miracle is not that Jesus fed the large crowd out of nothing. The miracle is in the sharing. It starts with a boy sharing his lunch with Jesus. And Jesus blesses it, and then the disciples share it the crowd.
It is the sharing of the bread and fish that was able to feed so many. Jesus used what the people had brought to share with everyone. And it was enough. And all ate and were filled.
Potlucks remind us that though it may seem small, in the hands of Jesus, it is great. And the same can be said with our gestures of sharing. Whether it be fresh vegetables from our garden or a sit-down meal at our home, catching up over coffee or a quick text to say you are thinking of someone. Because, when we invite Jesus to be a part of that which we share, it will be great.
It will be enough.
So, this week, do not be discouraged by what you perceive to be too little to give. In the hands of Christ, little is much. What will you share this week?
Lord, little is much in your hands. May what little we offer this week be much. Amen.