Asbury Methodist, our church, employs an app - allowing those who acquire it to listen to the sermons, read the bulletins, contribute monetarily and read daily scriptures. This week, the parable about feeding the five thousand waited for us to read. In fact, since more than one version of the story is told in the gospels, the parable was our scripture reading more than one day this week.
Confession: I know this story.
So the first few times I read it already knowing the punchline, I just read the words - in education, we call that word calling. I didn't think about what the story meant. Honestly, I didn't think it would mean anything than what it had always meant - Jesus feeds five thousand out of two fish and five loaves of bread; it waits there in scripture to convey to us the miracles Christ performed. Sad, that the literal miracle didn't still touch my heart.
However, on Friday, my mother sent me a letter with a clipping from an article in it. (Her mother sent her clippings, also. It's a thing with us Wade girls.) Thus, a few of her thoughts lay roaming around in my mind. One being that I don't have to be well to help others. That might seem simplistic to some - but the depth of grief the loss of child leaves us with makes me question everything I have ever known. Often being useful, being good enough ranks at the top of items I question.
Despite my faithlessness, my lack of meditation on scripture, the God who is ever faithful brought this picture to my mind when I read the story out of Mark this morning.
I saw Tracy, who lost her daughter, Kasey, to a drunk driver tearing off a piece of her bread and giving it to me. Then, I saw Linda, whose daughter Georgia lost a battle with mental illness while Georgia was still a young teen, holding a piece of broken bread. With hands outstretched, I saw Rebecka try to offer me substance while she struggled with infertility. I saw Corrina whose first born left this world too soon kneeling in prayer, yet holding a piece of bread. I saw Jennifer talk about grace after the loss of their son, Justin, and tearing off a piece of bread. I saw Sandi, whose son died from a traumatic brain injury, bringing bread to a hospital, to a situation she could not have wanted to face. I saw more than five broken loaves of bread - being broken again. I saw hearts devastated by loss giving away the pieces they had left.
"And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."
I find myself in awe at the brutality and the beauty in the words,
"and he broke the bread".
He broke the bread; then he gave the pieces away.
Touched by the women who tore from the loaves of their own broken hearts to give to me.