Wednesday, December 13, 2006

'You give them something to eat!'

I have been reading the feeding of the 5000 miracle account in Mk 6:30-44. The verse that stands out to me is v37: 'you give them something to eat'. To me, in the rhetorical purpose of Mark's narrative, this is an appeal to the Christian church to feed the poor. Mark is writing to a Gentile audience and tells the story highlighting this imperative.

Clearly this begins within the family of God, as we as God's people seek to alleviate poverty in our midst. The principle of justness in the community is critical and will be a radical witness to a greedy world (cf. 2 Cor 8:13).

However, there is no evidence that these people are Christians; this is pre-resurrection, they are seeking healing, they are not fully into God yet. This means to me that this imperative gives a sound biblical base for the work of aid organisations who work in Christ's name to remove poverty e.g. World Vision, Tear Fund.

That being said, this aspect of Christ's ministry cannot be isolated from his preaching (evangelism) and healing/deliverance ministry. The three dimensions work in tandem, people coming to be made whole physically, spiritually and socially.

So for me, we can never isolate these dimensions from one another; we are to carry on the ministry of Christ as his people and body and feed the poor, preach the gospel and heal the sick!

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