Thursday, 5 May 2011

Step Four

Gospel John 6:1-15 

Jesus went off to the other side of the Sea of Galilee – or of Tiberias – and a large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he gave by curing the sick. Jesus climbed the hillside, and sat down there with his disciples. It was shortly before the Jewish feast of Passover.

Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, ‘Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?’ He only said this to test Philip; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, ‘Two hundred denarii would only buy enough to give them a small piece each.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, ‘There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that between so many?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.’ So they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. The people, seeing this sign that he had given, said, ‘This really is the prophet who is to come into the world.’ Jesus, who could see they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, escaped back to the hills by himself.

Step Four - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves

Who are these people that Jesus has fed; the nameless crowd that followed the tales of healing and exorcism? People who wish only to be entertained; to be shown the signs and wonders and then wonder what it means? Thrill seekers or maybe truly seekers of the Truth? With ears that hear and eyes that see. 

The light of Jesus has called to many - the crowd, a mass of humanity - good, bad and indifferent, Drawn away from their day to day existence; knowing that here is something else, something greater. Leaving behind their past; but not prepared for their future. They  have wandered far from home and are now standing, waiting, hungry; wondering what's going to happen next. 

This miracle is on the grandest of scales but Jesus could have fed these people with a wave of his hand - he didn't; there were other lessons for the disciples to learn. 

And as for the crowd; he made them sit down. Getting five thousand men plus women and children to do anything - no small task; with ripples of incredulity, questions, demands and entreaties until they are sitting down - waiting. 

Sitting down gives them an opportunity to come to stillness; to reflect on why they are here at all in the heat of the day with rumbling stomachs and parched lips. Eyes turn towards Jesus as he plays out his scene with the disciples; back towards the town. Sitting on the grass like so many sheep; feelings of foolishness, impatience scratching at their minds - how did we get to this?

And in the waiting, the thoughts go through their minds; their lives so far. What was it that the light had called to? What was missing, damaged, so hurt that dreamt it could be healed?Remembering, with regret,  those whose hearts were hungry because of their neglect; those whose dreams lay tattered because their dreams had come first.

What was good, honest, pure that knew the call? Who did they love? Where did their own light shine?
 Maybe for the first time,seeing themselves revealed; reflecting off the wide azure sky; no winding streets of excuses or dead ends of denial. Saying to themselves 'This is who I am and who I am is hungry for something more.

And from nowhere a hand reaches down  'Eat'. Fresh crumbly barley bread, crisped skin and soft flakes of fish; scent of charcoal, lake water and clay ovens; a bountiful tapestry of golden,  bronze and cream. A feast and more that a feast; a promise of more for those who wait; for those who believe; for those who know why they are here.



Margaret said...

"whose hearts were hungry because of their neglect." Interesting choice of pronouns there. Who is doing the neglecting to whom? Is it the neglect of our own hearts? The neglect of our heart by others. All of the above, yes, all of the above. But there is a personal choice involved that is worth thinking about. We do neglect our own hearts. That is worth thinking about.

Word in the Hand said...

Margaret, I would say that is a worthy point for many - the commandment says love your neighbour as yourself but what if you don't love yourself - what will happen to your neighbour then?
Thank you

sattler said...

Today I've been blogging about blogging ( Your blog is very different from mine but it's so refreshing to hear your biblical insights. I look forward to keeping in touch. Shalom, phil