Mark 6:44

The people who ate the bread were five thousand in number.

at first a crowd
everyone out for their own
now they and their hairs
are numbered
one by one by one
and met in fifties
hundreds and thousands
with a new commonness
beyond individual need

it was the teaching
that caught us off-guard
when we came for the healing
stayed for an announcement
deepening within us
connecting hope to action

we still don’t get
how to organize
heaven on earth

but we do know when is now

At the end of this story we hear of 5,000 being fed without an expression of astonishment.

Those present may not have known a feat of food multiplication or cloning had gone on. The Twelve wanting to send folks away but instructed to find what was available to feed the crowd, may well have stopped after finding 5 loaves and 2 fish with an expectation that surely Jesus would now send the busybodies away.

Even Jesus’ looking prayerful wouldn’t signal anything out of the ordinary. Perhaps a simple blessing was heard, “Barukh Attah Adonai, sower of seed and harvester of bread.” So ordinary as to not draw attention but live within expectation.

While the Greek is clearly about 5,000 males, there is no need for the reader to limit those who shared in the bounty to men only. It may even be more helpful to use this ending as a palin for the last feasting/feeding we heard about. Herod’s formal feast of powerful people ended in the death of 1, John. This feeding of a powerless crowd of people feeling their need, ends in the filling or revival of 5,000.

Thus ends a cycle:

• Twelve commissioned and reliant upon hospitality

• Herod Feasting, Salome Dancing, John Dying

• Twelve report on their work

• Jesus Insisting, Twelve Gathering, 5,000 Feeding

Seen in alteration, we find a reviving of exhausted people as a sign contrary to dissipation, foolishness, and murder. Only feeding three people (Elijah, a widow, and a widow’s son) would do as a sign. Feeding 5,000 is hospitality writ large; a harvest of great abundance.

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