Loaves and Fishes, Burgers and Buns: Enough for Starters

Posted on

John 6: 1-21
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
, July 26,

Reflections by Pastor Rebecca Aardahl

The Thursday night crowd was soon to arrive.  Volunteers had been together throughout the
afternoon.  Sliced watermelon, husked
corn and simmering beans were ready. 
Tables were set.   Angus burgers
sizzled on the grill while hundreds of buns were stacked and ready on the
counter.  The two small congregations’
cadre of volunteers awaited the expected 350 guests for the night’s Banquet
in Bismarck.  Were we prepared?  Did we have enough food?

What amount is enough? 
John 6 presses us with the same question.  Thousands to feed and only a little boy’s
lunch of  five barley loaves and two
fish!  At least they had that much for
starters, assured Andrew.  But Philip was
more practical with his question, “Where
are we to buy bread for these people to eat?”
  Centuries earlier,  Elisha was peppered with similar practicalities.   He likely became accustomed to them.  One hundred  hungry men, twenty loaves of barley and some
fresh ears of grain meet him.   Elisha’s servant
demands, “How can I set this before a
people?”  “Set it before the people,” Elisha
replies.  And it is enough.  Elisha has enough for starters.  So also do Philip and Andrew and the rest of
Jesus’ followers.  So also do we.  Enough. 
Enough for starters.


But will it stretch for all those in need?  Will we unfairly provide for some and run out
at the finish?  Just begin.  Make
the people sit down
,” Jesus instructs. 
Then he took the loaves and when
he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the
fish, as much as they wanted,”


Planners of menus and portions and calories cannot calculate
the unmet needs and the overflowing baskets of food before us.  It’s beyond our imaginations.  But it’s not beyond our Lord’s.


Before the Thursday night meal, volunteers counted buns,
hamburger patties, table settings, cobs of corn and all the rest.  Would it be enough?  Loaves and fishes, like burgers and buns
stretched, reached and met the need on that warm July evening,  with more than100 buns and one big basket of
burgers leftover.  For the Soup Kitchen,
of course:  The Ruth Meier’s Hospitality
House, where leftover bread confounds anyone’s arithmetic.  


Do we have enough? 
Enough for starters, thank God!