“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?”
– John 6:9
For the next five weeks, our lectionary Gospel passages explore abundance – this week we see Jesus feeding the 5,000, and soon Jesus will proclaim that he himself is the “bread of life.” That idea will carry through to the Last Supper and inspire our tradition of celebrating Eucharist.
Meal From Below is a book of devotional reflections as well as an introduction and companion guide to a 40-week spiritual formation experience that includes daily, weekly, and monthly practices. It is patterned after communion at the Lord’s Table. Liturgical Christian traditions aptly call this shared experience the Eucharist, which literally means good gift.
Jesus hosts a table at which there is always enough; in fact, more than enough. As if to underscore this point, the feeding of the 5,000 is recorded in all four Gospels. Aside from the Resurrection, it is the only miracle recorded in each Gospel (Matt. 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15). Each Gospel recounts the miracle using the same highly liturgical structure – Jesus took, blessed, broke, and gave.
These same verbs show up again at the Last Supper, and again after the Resurrection on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:30). At the Last Supper, we are supplied with an additional verb; it is an interpretive word. Jesus said, “This is my body,” and “this is my blood.”
Jesus models for us the life-long liturgy of being taken, blessed, broken, given, and spoken into existence. Jesus the Word revealed in his own humanity the shape of God’s divine abundance. Jesus is teaching us that there is a Eucharistic shape to flesh-and-blood human life, and this shape is the very essence of reality.
Kris Rocke and Scott Dewey
Excerpted from Introduction to Meal from Below.