There Will Be Leftovers
- Written by Jody Vickery Jody Vickery
- Published: 28 April 2017 28 April 2017
Let’s play an image association game. I’ll describe a scene, you tell me the first thing you think of. Ready?
Jesus takes bread, gives thanks, breaks it, then gives it to his disciples.
So what did you think of?
Communion, right? The Lord’s Supper. Of course.
Take a look at Mark 14:22 – While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take it; this is my body.
But there are other events in Jesus’ ministry that perfectly match the description I gave you.
Look at Mark 8:6 – When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people.
Or how about this one, in Mark 6:41 — Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people.
It is not an accident that Mark uses almost exactly the same language to describe the feeding-the-multitude miracles and the institution of the Lord’s Supper. It makes me wonder: Is he inviting us to experience communion the way the people in those stories experienced those miracles?
I don’t know about you, but I grew up viewing communion in a very formulaic kind of way. The order, the elements and timing took priority. We had to do it on the right day, in the right way, saying the right words in the right order, with the right frequency. We were not remembering the cross as much as we were cutting and pasting a pattern into our worship.
I think maybe Mark wants to invite us, instead, to ponder mysteries.
Jesus was more artist than engineer, more poet than academic. To him, bread was body, wine was blood, the cross was a throne. The old could be born again, the poor were rich, the wise were foolish, leaders served and life followed death. He blessed those who were hungry and thirsty for righteousness and said they’d be satisfied. And in the stories where Jesus takes meager resources and feeds thousands, that’s exactly what happens. Mark 8:8 says the people ate and were satisfied. Mark 6:42 reports the same outcome.
Again, your experience may be different, but I know that often – maybe most of the time – I come away not feeling very satisfied. Maybe that’s because I still approach the Lord’s Supper as an obligation to be checked off my list of things to do in worship instead of a celebration of the things He has already done.
This Sunday when you take communion, try something different. Read the stories of Jesus feeding the multitudes. Put yourself and those around you in the story. Here we are with Jesus. Some of us have come a long way and have a long, long way yet to go. Work is hard. Home is hard. Marriage is hard. School is hard. If we don’t get something to sustain us, we will collapse on the way. But Jesus is here. He is about to take bread, give thanks for it, break it and give it to us.
We will eat and be satisfied.
And there will be leftovers.