Gathering Up the Fragments

“The Lord upholds all those who fall …” (Psalm 145:15)

We have a high calling as the people of God, but we are not always faithful to that calling. David was the Lord’s anointed king of Israel, but he was also an adulterer and a murderer. He did things that were very wrong. He turned his back on God’s commandments, his duties as king, and his subordinate’s loyalty. David’s misconduct had severe consequences for him and for others, but it did not end God’s love. Psalm 145: 15 promises that “The Lord upholds all those who fall; he lifts up those who are bowed down.” David fell hard, and he was to blame for his fall and what came afterwards. But that was not the end of God’s love for David, or David’s hope to know God’s love.

Even if it seems that “there is no godly one left” (Psalm 14:1), and everything appears very dark in our world, we can know that God is present and available to us. St. Paul prays that the Ephesians may be strengthened in their inner being with power through the Spirit, and that Christ will dwell in their hearts through faith as they are being rooted and grounded in love.

The love of Christ surpasses understanding, but Paul invites the Ephesians to comprehend the amazing breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love. Whatever difficulties may be faced by the Ephesians — or us — Christ’s love is more than sufficient. Our need may be so great and our confusion so deep that we do not even know what to ask for or where to turn, but Christ’s love can “accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20). Our hope is beyond us, in Christ, not in ourselves.

Christ’s love can turn a disaster into a feast. A large crowd of people follow Jesus up the mountain, and there does not seem to be enough food for them. The disciples can find only five barley loaves and two fish. This would be a convention planner’s nightmare, and a catastrophe for anyone who wants to be in control of every situation. But Jesus shares the bread and fish among everyone present, and there is plenty. The abundance of food corresponds with the abundance of his love, and there is food to spare. Jesus even commands that the fragments of the feast be gathered up so that nothing is lost.

James De Koven preached on this text shortly before his death, and he related the fragments of food to the fragments of a life. He said that the broken pieces of a mighty whole may be gathered up again. Even those things in our lives that seem broken and incomplete are gathered up with care in the love of Christ who feeds us all.

Look it Up

What is our assurance as Christians? What is the communion of saints? (See the Catechism, BCP, p. 862.)

Think About It

Who do you turn to for help in a crisis? What did you do the last time you found yourself in a crisis?


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