Daily Worship

The Great Baker

July 30, 2021 2
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Image credit: Unsplash

John 6: 1-15 (NRSVA)

1 After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. 2 A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. 3 Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. 5 When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?’ 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, ‘Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’ 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?’ 10 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. 11 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. 12 When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.’ 13 So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. 14 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.’

15 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 I think about the way we celebrate communion in church I often get a little frustrated by how elaborate we’ve made it, and yet what I love about it most is the small amount shared amongst the many.

I adore eating a piece from the same loaf as my brother and sister. I love taking a small sip of the same wine from the same cup. There is something deeply profound in sharing food together. It’s true what they say: The people who give you food are giving you their heart.

What strikes me about John 6, is the contrast between the unsettled worry of the disciples, and the calm and faithful steadfastness of Jesus. I love seeing the disciples care so much about making sure people are provided for – it is an essential element of the Christian church, to always ensure we use what we have to give to others. Feeding the poor, tending to the sick and walking the lonely roads of life with the isolated are the practical ways we live out our faith.

But it’s not enough to be doing stuff. Jesus teaches that in what he does here. He simply looks to heaven for answers. Why would Jesus worry about provision, if he believes in the God of unfathomable provision? Why would he be concerned with the earthly satisfactions of the belly, when he believes in a Father who showered manna on his people in the wilderness.

The only point of the story though, isn’t the disciples’ worry, or Christs miracle. The true meaning is the acceptance that what we have belongs to God. It was in the thankfulness that bounty increased, and the people were satisfied.

 

PRAYER:

 

Father,
our lives yearn for satisfaction
and yet we are stuck in the worry
uncomfortable in the uncertainty
tired of the waiting to receive.

Remind us again, that you are the great baker
the one whose oven of grace never goes cold
the one who is always enough.

Amen.