Have you ever been invited into a miracle?
It should be abundantly clear from anyone’s telling of the story that it wasn’t planned. It wasn’t a rally or a convention, not a jamboree or a festival. There was no reason to think about organization. People just showed up. They came and came, and they kept coming and soon there was about 5,000 at the end of the day, hanging on every word and gesture from Jesus.
The people were restless and getting irritable. This had gone on a longtime, they were tired and hungry. It was getting dark. The disciples huddled in a little group. “Who knew Jesus could talk that long?” said one of them.
“It’s not his fault,” said another, “the people just keep following him and demanding more. More healing, more teaching, more preaching, more everything.”
“Well it’s not their fault, either,” said someone. “They’re desperate. Some of them need comfort, some inspiration, and they’re all just looking for a little hope.”
“Still,” said yet another, “ they could have planned better. Jesus just walks and talks and they just keep going with him, not watching where he’s going.” They paused, “where are we, anyway?”
“Who knows,”sighed one, “I’m hungry.” Others jumped in and they began to bicker and point fingers. People in the crowd were starting to notice. But then, one voice stood out. “I don’t think it’s right to blame the people. Or me.” It was Jesus.
“Things just happened the way they did and here we are,” said Jesus. “Later, we can talk about being prepared. And we will. A lot. But, for now, I think it’s more important to talk about what we have rather than what we don’t, and what we have is each other.”
There were a few nods. One of the disciples said “but Jesus, sure, we may have each other, but we don’t have food and the people are hungry. How are they going to be fed?”
“Well,” said Jesus thoughtfully, “you guys have anything to share?”
They all just looked at each other. A little annoyed, one of them said “didn’t you hear us Jesus, no one packed any food.” There were grumblings of agreement from the others. People in the crowd were gathering around now, watching and listening.
“I don’t mean ‘did you pack a meal’ or ‘bring a buffet’ for everyone,” answered Jesus calmly. “Do you have,” he paused, “anything?”
They looked at each other and back at Jesus. One of them spoke up, a little sheepishly. Reaching into their pocket, they said “I grabbed an extra bun at breakfast.” A couple of disciples clicked their tongues disapprovingly, but Jesus said “that’s great! Can I have a piece, please? Anyone else?”
Another offered, “I’ve got an apple.” Then another, “I’ve got an old granola bar in the bottom of my bag.” A mom in the crowd said “I’ve got some cereal and a bag of goldfish crackers.” A man spoke up “I’ve got a couple of real fish. I was fishing before I came here.”
The question moved through the crowd like a wave. People searched their pockets, backpacks and bags. Small groups began trading bits of food and sharing together. Soon, everyone was happily fed and ready to head out on the journey home.
“See,” said Jesus, “we have each other.” “It’s a miracle there was enough for everyone,” said one of the disciples. “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and you were part of it. Remember that.”