September 16, 2011

Luke 9.10-17

On their return the disciples told Jesus all they had done; and he took them with him and withdrew privately to a town called Bethsaida. But the crowds found out and followed him.

He welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and cured those who were in need of healing.

When evening was beginning, the Twelve approached him, and said, "Send these people away; then they can go into the villages and farms round about to find food and lodging; for we are in a lonely place here."

"Give them something to eat, yourselves," he replied.

But they said, "All we have is five loaves and two fishes, nothing more-- unless we ourselves should go and buy provisions for all this company." (There were about five thousand men.)

He said to his disciples, "Make them sit down in groups of about fifty or so." They did so, and got them all seated.

Then, taking the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to Heaven, said the blessing over them, and gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people.

They all ate to their hearts' content, and when the scraps were picked up, they filled twelve great baskets.


At 8:46 p.m., Blogger Random Arrow said...

But they said, "All we have is five loaves and two fishes, nothing more-- unless we ourselves should go and buy provisions for all this company." (There were about five thousand men.).”

What? Jesus thinks I’m giving up my five loaves and two fishes? Doesn’t he know the law of supply and demand? The invisible hand? How much dough I could make on this starving gang?

It’s amazing, really. This one is in all four Gospels. Maybe twice in a few. I’m not sure if the total count of permutations is four, five, or six. If I went into neurosis over divergences (I save my neuroses for more important things), I’d try to harmonize the divergent accounts and rid the text of variants. In this case, I’d rather hear 5,000 more.

Now, I’m a liar already. About wanting to hear 5,000 more stories. Because I’m reading Justo Gonzalez. And Gonzalez goes crazy. Three whole paragraphs on eucharistic formal-functional analysis on this text in Luke. He’s killing it. Making connections to current eucharistic practice. What? This was a church service? With formal hierarchical clergy? Dishing out little biscuits and Welch's? No! These were a bunch of burping, farting, drinking slobs. This can’t be done in a church. For all we know, this looked like a Grateful Dead concert. Where the band members (the disciples) were so out of it, they had no clue how to perform. Then, the music began.

See, I don’t really want to hear Gonzalez. Not his version. So, I lied about wanting to hear 5,000 more stories. It’s important for me to bear in mind that the Fish shows up in these places too. I attended (visited: my work circuit) a Quaker meeting in Berkeley. Maybe it was Reno. A lady spoke in verbal ministry. She had attended a Baptist baptism at some wild lake or river. And boom, she said she felt something powerful at the water baptism. So she spoke about this for about 60 seconds in the meeting. I think everyone at the meeting was transported. Quakers transported to a Baptist baptism. I felt it. We need to get out more often. Maybe we’ll get some cookies and grape punch at the next verbal ministry?

At 9:36 p.m., Blogger forrest said...

Not a token cookie&grape juice, shared food! This is what "church" ought to look like, but usually doesn't. If I knew how to do it I'd want to!

I read an off-brand Quaker blog post today: about a group who figure what they're doing is: sitting around letting Jesus teach them how to be his friend.

Not about making Jesus a worship object, then. About doing God's will...

Not about asking God for a stone to-do list... "All right, we'd like about ten rules to go, not too hard, just hard enough that we can occasionally bust someone for breaking them..."

People, Jesus, being friends, eating. Serious talk. No fluff about "Who do you favor in next year's war with Edom?" Praising God, singing, burping! I wish I knew (or knew someone who knew) how to make that happen here!

"Pray for me"? (Last-post comment.) Random, you ain't the sort of person I'd normally pray for! As far as I can see, you've been blessed, and been a blessing!-- which is yet another way of being blessed. Getting "stoned" (aka "astounded") on Spirit. Some things are "more energy than a human being can handle", but (not that I'd know) people say there's no problem except to that little ego trying to "handle" them.

"Oh the first days are the hardest days;
don't you worry anymore.."

At 4:56 a.m., Anonymous david said...

you guys are talkin' like you never attended a Quaker potluck

At 10:33 a.m., Blogger forrest said...

I've very seldom attended a Quaker potluck that was more than "a social event", maybe not in the worst sense of that, but in a bad sense. Trivial, shallow, even when there was a subject for aftermunch discussion.

Food does miraculously expand, but none of us arrive malnourished, and these events tend to gluttony & late night indigestion. (Not anyone else's fault I'm a pig, but I need to watch out even for after-Meeting goody heaps.)

And with us, it's generally a small, invited group-- unless the subject is some political cause. Unlike a Meeting or a church service, it's not exactly 'public.'

If we started having potlucks on the downtown streets... and keeping the tone religious without making religious attendance a requirement...


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