“And when the seven for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of broken pieces did you pick up?” “Seven,” they said.
whether gathering more
than what was
or simply conserving
details pull us together
at sixes and sevens
hungry two eight four
practically perfect ones or tens
divine three and three times three
it is five digits shape our work
never out of the woods
we have needed resources
in every scattered fragment
a map of the forest resides
one loaf to feed them all
With a second question about a second feeding we might begin to wonder if Jesus is not getting at something other than the crowds that were fed— the role the Twelve had in finding the bread and fish, or the sacramental form of the feedings.
Jesus has been asking about the leftovers that the Twelve had experienced. What was left over in their lives after these experiences and how did that connect with this and every moment since?
Carrington170 suggests the leftovers can be connected with Creation and when we forget Creation, “God…is often the forgotten factor. He was with them in the boat, even when they had only one loaf. They ought not to have been worrying about bread.”
LaVerdiere220 continues Myers concern of an ethic of mutual care by connecting the seven baskets of leftovers with a story of enacted unity or trust in G*D—the feeding of Greek widows in Acts 6:1–7. This liberationist remembrance places the oppressed at the center of the resolution of their oppression. Gentiles are placed at the core of decisions about the feeding of all the widows. This will also be seen in Paul’s insistence on the inherent value in non-Jewish lives (Galatians 3:28). [Note, seven Greek men were put in charge of distributing food to all widows, not the Greek widows themselves!]
Whether seen through trusting eyes able to see the G*D and the abundance of life or Neighb*r and the ethics of partnership, we only need to see the leftovers to hear echoes of John’s recollection of Jesus saying, “Do you believe because you see me? Happy are those who don’t see and yet believe/trust.” (John 20:29)