In the reading from Mark this morning, it recounts the story of the feeding of the 5,000.  It’s a familiar story; one for which there are several different interpretations.  One that I have heard more than once is that Jesus didn’t really multiply the fish and the loaves – that’s impossible.  What he really did was move the people to share what it is that they brought in the first place.  When I hear this interpretation, I can’t help but wonder about the person’s view of God.  I’m not saying that it didn’t happen like that.  What I’m saying is that those who think it is impossible for it to have been a miraculous act may have underestimated the incredible nature of God.

Because here’s the thing: the disciples, the ones who were telling the story later on, would know the difference between a miraculous act and the people sharing their food.  To say otherwise is nothing but the arrogance of our era.  I don’t think it takes away from the story if they said that all the people began to share their food with those who didn’t have any.  In fact, I think that makes a great point about the impact of Jesus’ teaching on the crowd.  But that’s not what was said.  Here’s how Mark puts it…

So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied.  And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish.  And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men (Mark 6:40-44)

Did you catch that?  “He divided the two fish among them all.”  Not: “He got them to see the importance of caring for one another and they shared what they already had.”  Why do we struggle with miracles?  Why do we try to take away the wonder of Jesus’ ministry?  I’m not naive.  I know that it’s impossible for me to feed 5,000 men on two fish and five loaves of bread.  But I also know that I’m not Jesus.

What about you?  When you read the miracle stories in the gospels, or even in other parts of the Bible, do you automatically dismiss the role that God could play, or do you look at them with a sense of wonder?  This time of the year, Holy Week, we reflect on the biggest miracle of all – the resurrection.  I believe in a God that can do that, so multiplying a few loaves and fish doesn’t seem all that outlandish to me.  What do you think?

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