“The crowd…. went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.” From John 6:24-35.
“…the very quality of the air changed. It became thick, charged with the spirit of those whom we loved and who were there with us.” Carolle Doyle, Donkathon participant.
In the Gospel reading today, crowds of people are searching for Jesus, not just for his teaching and healing but also because over five thousand of them had been fed by him with the five barley loaves and two small fish that had been donated by one boy giving up his lunch. These are people who perhaps have no work because they seem able to follow Jesus around and may be hungry because they want more of the actual food he gives them. An act of generosity enabled Jesus to perform this miracle and, without that boy willing to let him have his lunch, the crowd may not have been fed in that way. In just the same way, without Prince Brochwel’s generosity in giving Melangell this part of the valley to build an abbey, her legacy may not have survived in the way it has, feeding people spiritually still to this day.
Acts of generosity were also at the heart of Donkathon when Polly, Peter, Wizard, Muffin, Blackie the pony and poodle Nelson rolled into Pennant Melangell last Sunday with their grooms, friends and supporters. Time and resources were donated by all those who undertook the journey, lasting over a month, and by those who gave them shelter and food each night. Sponsors, the sharing of stories and the generosity of those who gave money along the way enabled over £40,000 to be raised for Multiple Sclerosis Research, with £352.94 being raised on the day the Donkathon ended at Pennant Melangell. Further acts of generosity meant that the WI loaned their gazebo, with cakes and drinks generously being donated in support of what was happening. In this way, those who came could be fed and anything left over was used by visitors afterwards, enabling their later donations also to go to MS Research.
But this happened on another level too. Carolle Doyle writes of sensing the love of those who have died but were carried in the hearts and thoughts of those taking part in the Donkathon: “St. Melangell’s is my spiritual home and, like many others, I see it as a ‘thin’ place where heaven and earth meet. But as I sat beside my friend, Polly, on the final ‘Donkathon’ mile the very quality of the air changed. It became thick, charged with the spirit of those whom we loved and who were there with us: Peter’s Tessa and Katie who should have overseen this last week and whose scarf was wrapped around the carriage; my Don and my friend Sally, who used to drive my donkey with me, my parents too. All there, all with us as we passed the sign for Pennant Melangell and then the long journey was over and we were surrounded by friends.”
Not only food, journeys and experiences were shared throughout the Donkathon but also lives and love – the bridge between this world and the next. Where people are willing to reach out, seek the welfare of others and make a difference, wonderful things can happen. Jesus showed that, when so many people were fed by a boy’s meal and love multiplied. As Donkathon showed us, that can still happen and the money raised will enable other lives to be touched by that same generosity that is so much needed today. Well done Polly, Peter, Carole and all involved – especially Wizard, Muffin, Blackie and Nelson!