John 6:1-15 (NRSV) Feeding the Five Thousand
After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.”
When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
When he was old, he still had some crumbs
of the leftover bread from the Bread of Heaven.
Given at that long-ago picnic.
He shared them, himself a grandfather now,
one tiny crumb at a time.
Everyone tried to smell the precious crumb.
He would smile, eyes crinkling,
and place the tiny bit in a shaking outstretched palm.
He looked at you
Right in the eyes
and his story was always that he
just happened to be there, just a boy.
And he gives thanks for each of us around the table
Somehow knowing exactly what to say.
It fills us up, full, to the top, each week
And there is laughter
Maybe tears too,
And it all rises up in the air to God.
Even if the crumb sometimes is little more than dust,
Somehow they last Sabbath after Sabbath.
So powerful you could almost smell it.
Dear Gracious God,
Each time we take the bread and drink from the cup
Let us be full of thanksgiving
Rich in living water and the bread of heaven.
The miracle of feeding the thousands was more than human sharing
It was heavenly transformation
Though we were unaware,
Though we were barely awake,
And just thought it was bread and fish.
Thank you God for all the miracles that we are unaware of,
That we will yet be surprised by. Amen.