I love the gospels, these crazy God-humanity infused stories. It's like striking a match, setting a flame the compassion in the human soul. It awakens the imagination to live more abundantly human. The feeding of the 5,000 is such a story.
Jesus lights a match, trying spark some human imagination asking Philip, " Where can he buy bread to feed these people?" Immediately Philip is doing some calculations in his mind, counting on his fingers and finally coming to the conclusion, " we don't have enough money." Not the best answer, but at least he's absolved himself, and the disciples of any responsibility.
There is a young boy in the crowd with his bag lunch of five small loaves and two fish that he sees as a possibility. But, like a flickering candle about to go out, Simon readily admits it doesn't offer much hope.
Jesus seats everyone on the ground and takes the bread, giving thanks passes it into the midst of the people. He does the same with the fish, and everyone ate as much as they wanted. When the people had eaten their fill, he said to his disciples, "Gather the leftovers so nothing is wasted." They went to work and filled twelve large baskets with leftovers from the five barley loaves.
To often in this story we want to fast forward, and hit stop...satisfied with the obvious conclusion it's " all " Jesus performing some kind of God-magic in a miracle. Now, I'm not saying Jesus can't, and didn't do miracles. I'm saying maybe in the profound redemptive imagination of Jesus he doesn't want us to stop there. Maybe there is another kind of miracle going on...a kind of God-man collaborated miracle. Maybe it's that profound intersection when God and humanity merge as one, and in the fusion something heaven-on-earth shattering happens.
The young boy in this story ignites the redemptive imagination in my mind to a new generation that is not just on the fringe. But that they " get " Jesus and are close to him. They understand that Jesus was deeply and fully human more than he was religious. It's profound that the disciples didn't really grasp what was going on. But here is this young boy hovering close to Jesus saying here is my bag lunch...its not much, but I'm willing to share it.
Can you imagine the look on the disciples faces, " Are you serious kid...there is 5,000 or more people out there." That would be like sharing a " Happy Meal " with a small town. But more than that the young boy doesn't just want to share it with his family, his friends, his tribe or even his faith. He wants to share it with everyone..." you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike."
It is that profound mysterious intersection...if God is like that, humanity should be like that. It is when we live like that miracles are possible...heaven comes to earth, they become one.
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