The Real Miracle in the Parable of the Loaves and Fishes
Miraculous feeding is what I see on a daily basis. St. James Lutheran hosts the Metropolitan Lutheran Ministries (MLM) Northland site on its campus. We also host a food program for backsnacks to local elementary schools and now an expansion of that program that we fund ourselves for a Headstart snacksacks program. In all, St. James sees about 3000 lbs of food pass through its doors every week.
MLM sees much more, and I watch it go out daily as people maneuver shopping carts across a rickety Eagle Scout wooden bridge that must be used to connect to our parking lot because the neighborhood would not allow “those” people to clog up “their” cul-de-sac to get their food, commodities, and assistance.
Miraculous feeding, that’s what I see. What I would rather see; however, is our food pantries out of business for lack of need. I do not have the power to do that. That would require people make a living wage so that people are no longer enslaved by predatory lending practices and there is economic justice for all. Such justice requires laws that make sure essential needs are met and that people have the kind of level playing field which allows them to make a life for themselves.
I can hand out food and make sure the pantry does the best it can to make sure kids have the kind of nutrition that allows them to study, learn and grow. You alone have the power to make laws that level the playing field of opportunity for all. So, I ask you to reflect upon the passage above, and note the real miracle of the story.
The real miracle does not involve loaves, fishes, eating to one’s fill or gathering up the leftovers. Oh, we are drawn by those things, but they are not the main miracle. The real miracle is found in the fact that Jesus was able to make all the people sit down together.
In these contentious days of partisan politics, that is my request of you. Make the miracle happen by sitting down together, breaking bread and working toward a common goal. You may even discover there truly is plenty for all and baskets left to be collected.
Reverend Merle Brockhoff, Pastor, St. James Lutheran Church in Kansas City