Jesus feeds 5000 people today. People who are following him, who are looking for something to help fill a void in their lives, both corporate and individual. And at the end of this experience, before they try to "take him by force to make him king," Jesus instructs his disciples to "Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost." And they do just that, gathering up "the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets."
If we look at this miracle story of the feeding of the 5000 through a metaphorical lens, and these quoted verses in particular, what would we see? Besides the Eucharistic overtones, other than the reference to the 12 tribes of Israel, how does this passage speak to us?
I am struck this morning that from the crumbs left over from our participation and involvement in the kingdom, there is more than enough for others to also find refreshment and fulfillment. Without our even knowing we are leaving these crumbs and leftovers, our intentional community can, and does, fill the need that is achingly all around us. If we can do this unconsciously, as those people Jesus fed today did, what more could happen if we consciously used that which we thought were crumbs and unneeded, for the benefit and inclusion of those we do not even see around us? How do we take those leftover 12 baskets-full and make sure they are not wasted?
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Art: Panel 4 of Four Fold Action: Given. jfd+ 2008