Mark 6:41

Taking the five loaves and the two fish, Jesus looked up to heaven, and said the blessing; he broke the loaves into pieces, and gave them to his disciples for them to serve out to the people, and he divided the two fish also among them all.

we try so hard
to make sense of experience
to conform strange to known

how large need bread be
will a Jonah-size fish be enough
are we constrained by real numbers

inquiring minds raise more questions
than there are reasonable responses
distracted we make stuff up

heaven is declared to be up
rather than an inward third eye
exclusive of those in front of us

shift the image to paradise
we suddenly know thankfulness
every gesture pleases

gifts are set before us
insufficient in themselves
invoking ancient manna

a blessing of peace be to you
a piece for you and all is blessed
we’re all in together what a blessing

We are an enfleshed people who deal with life in its tangibleness. Mark begins this ritual by taking a firm hold on loaves of bread and fish. It is easy for them to crumble or slip-slide away.

From here we enter into partnership with a larger view than the surface of material items. A prayer, a listening, an agreement occurs as a way to dive into the very atomic structure of life.

Here we have a blessing based on the presence of bread and fish. This εὐλογησεν (eulogēsen, blessing) sees these objects and brings a new perspective or framing to them and/or recognizes their connection with everything else and is a word of thanks for their presence. There is a direct encounter and thankful connection made with what is already in place that goes back before they were and looks forward, thankfully, to where their energy will take us.

It is important to remember the Jewish tradition that objects were not blessed (like we do with guns at the beginning of hunting season or pets on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi). Blessing is directed at G*D. The elements come pre-blessed. Another way to put this—Jesus looked at the loaves and fish and blessed G*D.

One thought on “Mark 6:41”

  1. I’ve never heard you say, “Bless this food.” I’ve only ever heard, “The food comes blessed.” I didn’t know about the traditional roots of this nuance. Learning stuff on a Tuesday over here!

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