Enough for all (09-10-23)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 133:1-3
How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron's beard, down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.
Bible Reading: Mark 6:41-43
Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven,
he gave thanks and broke the loaves.
Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people.
He also divided the two fish among them all.
They all ate and were satisfied,
and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish.
The feeding of the five thousand is perhaps one of the most familiar miracles Jesus performed, and it is one with a lot of hidden depths and nuances.
We may tend to focus on the compassion of Jesus for the crowd or on the miracle that so many people were fed from so little, but as I read this again recently I became aware of two different things, of the broken bread and of the baskets that were left over.
As I think of the broken bread I am reminded of a horse that needs to be broken in order to be ridden, of biscuits that need to be broken to make a base in a dessert or of eggs that need to be broken to make an omelette. I am also reminded of the Japanese art ‘Kintsugi’ which joins together broken pottery with gold lacquer, where the breaks become its strength and its glory. In people too, it often seems that those who have the most compassion and understanding are those who have been broken in some way by life and have come through by the grace of God.
In order to perform the miracle to feed the multitude, Jesus needed to break the bread. I wonder how prepared we are to be broken by Jesus so that we might be used by him for his plans and purposes.
And then there are the baskets of leftovers. The disciples had given what they had available to Jesus, he had blessed it, broken it and they had fed the multitude. And afterwards they gathered twelve basketfuls of broken bread and fish. One each. Enough to take away with them and to feed those who they cared for.
God is no one’s debtor; as we give sacrificially to him and to his work, so he will bless us and we will not go away empty handed.
Lord, give me the courage to be broken for you, that your glory and your strength might be seen in all that I do.
Men of faith rise up and sing.