Today's Gospel from John was the famous "loaves and fishes" story. The miraculous feeding of the 5,000. Jesus has compassion on the people who are in the wilderness, and interestingly has them sit down on an area of lush grass (in the wilderness!). He knows what he is going to do (Jesus in the Gospel of John always knows everything, which is not necessarily obvious in the other Gospels; John makes the point specifically, however, at several points in the narrative). And yet he asks Philip where he thinks they could buy bread for all these people.
The wonderful sermon I heard today focused on that line. Jesus was asking Philip to use his imagination - to imagine what God can do, to be prepared for God's abundant riches. Perhaps he wanted to see if Philip would say, as did Abraham on another wilderness mountain, that God will provide.
We don't really believe that God will provide, however. Oh, God will provide grace. God will provide mercy. But what are we going to eat? Where are we going to live? How are we going to live? Do we believe that God will provide those things? Is that naive, or worse, irresponsible? Are we to sit on the curb and wait for provision to land in our laps? This is a struggle, isn't it?
So here's my prayer.
This week, Lord, help me see your provision of the things necessary for life. Help me use my imagination to enlarge my narrow view, to expect to see your hand at work in the world around me, and to recognize you and your wonderful, surprising ways.