Bread and miracles
The feeding of the 5,000 is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels. (Somebody once said that next to Homer’s Odyssey the Bible is the “eatingest” book in the world.) But John’s Gospel is the only one that sets the miracle at Passover. The connection is charged: It is God who feeds and saves, and a meal is a sign of God’s justice and mercy. John Dominic Crossan called the early Christian Eucharist the embodiment of justice. Yes, that and mercy too.
I’ve experienced this gospel truth at my former congregation in Fort Worth, Texas, which on Thursdays throws open the fellowship hall to the homeless of the city, 200 or so. We sit down with them and eat a family-style meal together. We call it our Agape Meal. There are tablecloths, cut flowers and platters of delicious food with identifiable meats, but the most crucial and most wonderful thing is that over the years the church and the homeless people of Fort Worth have become friends.
This article is available to subscribers only. Please subscribe for full access—subscriptions begin at $4.95. Already have an online account? Log in now. Already a print subscriber? Create an online account for no additional cost.