GET CONNECTED with our CHURCH FAMILY … responding to human need

Tuesday, March 12 – Bread for the Journey

Mark 8:1-10
In those days when there was again a great crowd without anything to eat, he called his disciples and said to them, “I have compassion for the crowd because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way—and some of them have come from a great distance.” His disciples replied, “How can one feed these people with bread here in the desert?” He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” Then he ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd. They had also a few small fish, and after blessing them he ordered that these, too, should be distributed. They ate and were filled, and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. Now there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.


This is Mark’s version of the familiar feeding of the thousands. Seeing it through the lens of hospitality is really interesting. Jesus is the one who notices the need – the crowd needs food or they won’t even make it home. Jesus points out that “church” doesn’t stop when the talking stops. Will you make it home? And nor does Jesus pretend that spiritual words and even the most amazing fellowship (because it would have been – can you image three days listening with others to Jesus?!) isn’t going to strengthen you physically. We are here on Earth, and we need food. Unsurprisingly, the disciples are like, “Well, feeding them is impossible!” Jesus doesn’t flutter. “How much bread do you have?” he says. They admit to having bread, and I can imagine a variety of tones of voice. Grudging? Plain fact – see seven loaves cannot feed four thousand people! Or even, but this is ours.

Yet everyone obeys Jesus. The crowd sits, the disciples hand over the loaves, Jesus gives thanks, breaks the bread, and shares. And the fish. And there was plenty. And leftovers.

Like the disciples, so often I feel as if “doing something” is impossible. Or I don’t even see what is missing. Plus, needs can be truly complicated. Problems can be overwhelming. Maybe focusing on the daily, ordinary needs – like bread so we don’t faint on the journey home – is a key thing to be attentive to?


Holy God, bless us with eyes to see:
To see the needs of the people in the crowd
To see the needs of our own hearts buried under busyness
And to turn to you and know that you will
Find a way to feed us, and help us feed others,
more than we can imagine!

Rachel Ann Russell