We paid off the new church.
We got a new pastor.
The newly paid off church almost burned up in a wildfire.
The new pastor had to be threatened to put down the garden hose and leave the church in the face of the wildfire.
For your personal edification, I asked my dad (He Who Used To Work For A Bishop) if there was any official protocol for evacuating a church in the event of a wildfire.
“Take Jesus and go.”
Father Freddy is from Columbia and he has his English in such a way that he knows the words, but he sometimes says them in the order of the Spanish in his head. This is not the way we speak them. It is so much better.
Today the reading was about the loaves and the fishes, which is propitious because next week is VBS and it’s all about encountering Jesus and one of the focus stories is loaves and fishes. So when Father got up to preach, I snuggled down into the pew to listen.
It was beautiful. He talked about how the little boy in the scripture brought what he had, which was not much. He gave it willingly though and Jesus took it, blessed him and made it BIG. Five thousand people big—well, scripture says men, so if they had wives and kids with them, it was even bigger than that.
Jesus fed them all til they were full.
Father said if we could just be like that little boy, and bring our love to Jesus, he will make it big. Even if we don’t know how our little love could be enough. Jesus knows.
I was super on board with this. Yes. YES. Father is using metaphor. The loaves and fishes are a metaphor for the love we have for others. And if we bring that love to Jesus, he will bless us and make it BIG. Awesome. I am SO using that at VBS.
And then, a little voice inside my head wondered if maybe Father should have explained the metaphor better because you know, not everyone is a used-to-be English teacher.
I started thinking how I would make that connection for the kids at VBS, maybe a giant math equation with a loaf and a fish and an equal sign to a heart…
And then it hit me. He’s not saying love. The whole time, he’s not saying love.
He’s saying LOAF.
The English teaching in me went down screaming, because she doesn’t like to be wrong. The rest of me laughed all the way to Communion.
I mean, it still works. Bring your loaf, which by your very willingness to bring it, shows your love. Jesus will multiply it and use it to feed others. But for reals—the story has stood the test of time. It doesn’t need improvement.
Just better listening skills.
Welcome, Father Freddy. I promise to try harder.