Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The other morning, I opened the Seattle Times newspaper and read the headline, “Appreciate the Little Things”; words said by a 16 year-old girl named Autumn who recently survived a plane crash in the North Cascades.  Sadly, her grandparents perished in that accident.

This tragic, overwhelming event opened her eyes to the “little things” of life we tend to overlook or ignore altogether.  It’s those little things that have the potential to nurture us when we let them.  A poem by Mary Oliver comes to mind:


                                                The multiplicity of forms!  The hummingbird,

                                                the fox, the raven, the sparrow hawk, the

                                                otter, the dragonfly, the water lily!  And

                                                on and on.  It must a great disappointment

                                                to God if we are not dazzled at least ten

                                                times a day.      –“Good Morning”


The little things of life “dazzle” when we learn to see beyond the disappointment that tends to blind us to the “on and on” that is daily there.  In the midst of what crowds our perception, we can be left feeling famished and underwhelmed by  life as it is…as it comes to us daily.

In the Gospel this 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (John 6: 1-15), Jesus faces a large crowd in which he senses a hunger he is willing to feed.  Yet, in the face of so many there’s only found a boy with “five barely loaves and two fish”; so little when faced with so many.  Or so it seems.  Jesus, however, does not shrug off such things before him because, unlike us much of the time, he sees differently.  Jesus sees potential in what is small.  Taking hold of the little that is there and, with thanks, he helps the disciples realize the abundance hidden there.  Jesus helps them “Appreciate the Little Things.”  He “dazzles” them with the potential found in what is small; and it’s more than enough.  What seems so little feeds the crowd; and satisfies.  When we learn to trust what is there, the seemingly little that is there becomes enough.  Often I say to myself as a prayer, “Help me to want what I already have.”  Often, it helps.  It gets me through a given day when it seems I have so little.

Last Sunday, I visited my parent’s graves and placed flowers in the afternoon heat.  Standing there, I sensed the overwhelming nature of death and how fleeting life seems.   Walking to my car, the breeze picked up and moved through the Poplars nearby.  Inexplicably, I felt consoled, dazzled and ‘fed’ by something so every day as wind and trees.

As time goes on and life becomes crowded with need, let us learn to “Appreciate the Little Things”.  Let it feed us. 

Father Tim Clark, Pastor

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