Wednesday 24th March

There was a man who had spent some time in a village, studying the habits and culture of a remote Brazilian tribe. The day before he was to return home, he decided to play a game with the children. He filled a basket with delicious fruits from around the region, such as bananas, guavas, mangos and pineapples, tied a ribbon round the basket and hung it from a tree.

Next, he called all of the children in the village to him. He drew a line in the dirt, looked at the children and said, ‘When I tell you to start, run to the tree. Whoever gets there first will win the basket of fruit. Ready, steady, go!’

When the man told them to run, all of the children took each other’s hands and ran together to the tree. Then, they sat together around the basket and enjoyed their treat as a group. The man was surprised and wondered aloud why they would all go together when one of them could have won all the fruits for him or herself. In response, one of the children looked up at him and said, ‘How can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?’

This story has echoes of the ‘Feeding of the 5000’. For Jesus physical needs were as important as the ‘spiritual.’ As a hospice nurse I was trained to care for the people holistically, meeting physical need first. Were they hungry, thirsty, comfortable or in pain? There was no point trying to help them or their families emotional or spiritual needs if the basic ones were not fulfilled.

This is why I am so thrilled we are embarking on the new Food Club initiative at St. Mark's under the leadership of Maria Hewson. It has the potential to meet people at a deep level - but let’s feed the hungry first. Just as Jesus did!