Bread, just bread…

Do you ever want to just give up? Does life feel hard? People menacing? A consistent positive narrative too elusive?

Me too.

So when I read,

Mark 8:14-16 (NIV)
The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. [15] “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” [16] They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”

…I feel a little better.

Because the disciples were clueless.
Because God has a sense of humor.
Because not all bread is the same.

The Bread of Life says, don’t muddle your values like the Pharisees, and the disciples say, huh? We need more grub?

They didn’t get it. He was the Bread.
He was the treasure. No matter what.

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Maldives Rape 2

Upset?

First step–google “contact Maldives”

Email a few of these tourism sites and tell them you will NOT visit their lovely but despotic spot of sand until they protect young children from rape.

Next contact your representatives. Tell them you want the US to raise concern about this vicious and destructive law.

The Maldives survive on tourist dollars. Help send them a message–state sponsored terrorism of raped children is not compatible with happy tourists.

And…research western interests/resorts in the Maldives. Complain. It will take a lot of voices to help these girls. So agitate.

And please– spread the word.

Maldives Rape

I remember missionaries who taught in the Maldives recounting a story about their students cheering the destruction of 9/11.

Now this: Maldives whips rape victims. They take girls who have been sexually abused and whip them 100 times.

It is hard to be a rape victim anywhere. But in the Maldives the perps are handed a carte blanche to abuse.

Poor little ones. If their stepdads don’t get them, the law will.

Asking for Signs

Mark 8:5,9-13 (NIV)
“How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Seven,” they replied. [9] About four thousand were present. After he had sent them away, [10] he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha. [11] The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. [12] He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” [13] Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.

Tonight the moon is amazing, just as the fierce wind that blew all day was equally amazing. You will forgive me for seeing signs of Love in them, after years with Him I do.

Jesus was the sign. They ask for a sign from Logos. They want to control him and cannot surrender to his love.

We are all that way–wrongly fearing the one who loves us best of all…because we are afraid. For some this life will be a love story–long and full. For others it will be a near miss–we will avoid him until the end is close, only to regret the wasted years.

And for some there will be an unrequited love, always waiting, always in love with them, while they willfully test the only God who saves us.

No sign indeed.

Breaking Bread

Mark 8:4-9 (NIV)
His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?” [5] “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Seven,” they replied. [6] He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people, and they did so. [7] They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. [8] The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. [9] About four thousand men were present. And having sent them away,

They go from stomach-gripping hunger to some bread, then some small fish, to a meal for a crowd of tens of thousands (4000 men plus women and children). They had leftovers.

People can be cagey about God. Understandably–He gets misrepresented a lot. The truth is He provides–air, water, food, sure. Not just those things. He wants to show us love.

Get close to Jesus and you will see some amazing things. Forget all that. The real miracle is the love of a person who knows us deeply and still abides with us.

He provides life; he provides blessing, but ultimately these things are just the incidental elements of the feast of God.

The real gift, the real nourishment is him.

Deja vu dining

Mark 8:1-4 (NIV)
During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, [2] “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. [3] If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.” [4] His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”

Alright. Some questions.

Why wait 3 days to feed them?

Didn’t we already do this miracle? Wouldn’t you think the disciples would have rubbed their hands together in anticipation and said, ok, whose got some snacks? Jesus is gonna break some bread!!

People are sheep, and sheep have a short attention span. We are credulous about Ponzi schemes and time shares, but cagey when we come to miracles.

Back in chapter 6 when we experienced the first feast of shared bread, Mark commented that the disciples did not understand the feast or for that matter, the power of Jesus.

So is this second miracle a reminder? A way of raising the expectation of divine providence?

I don’t know. I don’t know why I don’t believe faster, worry less, ask for bigger things, or trumpet God’s power more vociferously.

Ok, I do know.

I have been pushed down and discouraged by the power of darkness. Everything we humans do is threaded with discord, lust, and greed. We stink.

And sometimes our stink can distract us from his fragrance. We miss the myrrh in the stable because the dung is too deep.

Which is why, I think, he lets them wait three days for the meal, the feast, the splendor.

We have to be hungry, desperate, broken, before we will submit to the celebration of God.

He has done everything well

Mark 7:36-37 (NIV)
Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. [37] People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

I don’t expect people to believe in Jesus. It is a crazy story. I know that. But the people who knew Jesus up close, first century, in the flesh, told the story with no hint of irony.

We know they believed in Jesus because they died for his crazy story.

So take this story for what it is–the guy does an impossible thing and then says, don’t mention it.

But they can’t help themselves. He does all things well. They express their amazement at his power, his miracles.

I express mine as well–

His sovereign power demands my awe. His sacrifice of love changes my story.

Forever.