Tag Archives: Salvation

Fragments

“When they were satisfied, Jesus told the disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.'”  – John 6:12  NRSV

Communion Bread

Communion Bread – Before Worship.  Photo: TLClark.

 

Five loaves and two fish.  About five thousand ate as much as they wanted.  All four gospel accounts* agree there were twelve baskets full of left-overs.

But only in the Gospel according to John does Jesus direct the disciples to gather the fragments so none will be lost.

 

Fragments.  The parts we call left over.  Extra bits we try to hide.  Pieces we are tempted to toss out.  “Gather them up,” Jesus says.  Gather up the all the parts of your life that make you you.  Not just the happy, pleasing, joyful fragments.  Gather up the broken, the hurting, the fragile.  Not to discard or to be rid of.  But to let Jesus mend or heal or restore or purify.  Jesus wants all of it.  Jesus wants all of you.  For you are valued more than you can imagine – at least 12 times more!

So none will be lost.  No one.  Not you.  Not me.  Not friend, family, neighbor, stranger, enemy.  Jesus intends that not a single, solitary soul be lost.

“I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. …”  – John 10:16 NRSV

Jesus has more than one fold!  Jesus’ followers are not all alike.  Some call on Jesus by another name.  God’s people come in an amazing array of endless variety.  Look at the crowd on the hillside:  5000 people who were each there for their own reasons.  Sinners and saints, skeptics and believers.  ALL were fed.  None are to be lost.

*The Feeding of the Five Thousand is the only miracle story told by all four gospel writers.  See Matthew 14:31-21; Mark 6:33-44; Luke 9:10-17; and John 6:1-14.

Open Gate

 

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Open Gate @ Reiman Gardens, 5/4/18.  Photo:  TLClark

So Jesus spoke again, “I assure you that I am the gate of the sheep.  …  I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture. … I came so that they could have life–indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.”  (John 10:7-10 CEB)

Security gates at airports.  Entrance gates at sports fields.  Baby gates at the top of stairways.  Gates in barbed-wire fences and white picket fences and privacy fences.  Gates to control a crowd.  Gates to keep people or creatures in.  Gates to keep them out.

Jesus the gate often gets heard as Jesus the gatekeeper – the one deciding who’s gets into heaven.  But that is not what is written.  Heaven is not mentioned; a sheepfold is.  Another look at the prior paragraph reveals a gatekeeper opening the gate for the shepherd and the shepherd leading the sheep out of the sheepfold.  Out, not in.  The sheep follow the shepherd out of a protected, presumably safe space.  Out of comfort zones.  Out to new places.

Jesus says those who enter through him (into whatever it is being entered) will find life.  They will be be saved.  They will be able to come and go.  They will find pasture.  They will be offered life to the fullest, life abundant.

Being saved has to do with being made well, being healed, being restored.  It is a here and now thing, a down the road thing, a far in the future thing, and a whatever happens beyond death thing.  It is movement toward health and wholeness.

Being able to come and go sounds like freedom.  It is certainly physical – no longer chained in a cell or confined to a room.  And also mental – not limited by choice or opportunity.  Free to fully be the person God calls you to be.

Finding pasture is to find food and rest and, I dare say, opportunity to play and to dream.  Think Psalm 23 – a green place where there is a banquet and and you cup overflows.  Think open space with room to move and to imagine.

An open gate.  Life indeed.