Which choice will we make?
It’s a difficult story to hear: King David, the exuberant lover of God, the writer of prayers and psalms, has feet of clay. He sees a married woman, follows his lust into a web of adultery, deceit and even the murder of her husband, a loyal soldier in his army. (2 Samuel 11: 1-15). When David messes up, he does so big time and destroys lives, Bathsheba and Uriah’s among them.
The gospel story in John (6: 1-15) of the feeding of the 5,000 has a twist: the food to feed the multitudes comes from an unusual source. When asked how to feed so many people the disciples were at a loss. They did not have the necessary resources. There was however a boy who had a lunch: five barley breads and two fish. Jesus blessed this simple meal and distributed it to the multitudes. There were even twelve baskets left over.
These stories are unconnected but both appear in the lectionary for this Sunday.
I wonder if King David had seen a child if he would have paused to realize that what he was about to do was wrong? When I approach a traffic light and wait for the pedestrian walk sign I often will ignore the red light if there are no cars and go ahead. If there is a child present, however, I wait, as I don’t want to be a ‘bad’ example. Children in our midst give us pause in our reflecting and decisions. They remind us of the best of what we and the world can be. They need our examples of living for justice and resisting evil. We need their innocence. They need us to validate their generous actions and temper their willfulness. When their innocence is lost because of adults' self-indulgent and destructive behaviours it is often impossible to retrieve.
The generosity of a child’s lunch that with Jesus’ blessing feeds multitudes is in stark contrast to David’s willful disregard of others, and destructive actions.
Let us pause before actions or impulses are directed to unhealthy choices.
Let us be examples for children in our midst.
Let us choose life, self control and generosity over taking what is not ours and live in light not darkness.
Let us be the generous gifts to others in their need.