I Have No Idea How it Happened
(A Poetic Reflection on Matthew 14:13-21)
Even from the boat,
he had to see they were everywhere,
the entire shoreline covered with people,
moving, milling about,
the air thick with a background murmur
blocking out the noise of the birds and even the waves.
We’ve been waiting on you, Jesus
but it’s been crazy over here.
People keep asking us when you’re going to arrive.
People keep coming to us for healing.
People keep coming to us simply because
They’ve seen us with you,
and deduce you might be nearby.
US give them something to eat?
You know as well as the rest of us,
What we had, we mostly ate.
We’re down to five loaves and two fish.
But sure–take it.
And then we sat and wondered
as that bag disappeared into the crowd
how long it would be
before these people descended upon us,
angry, hungry and tired–
We’ve seen what these folks do
to hucksters and fakes.
But when the first one approached us–
I’m telling you,
our hearts were in our throats.
We couldn’t make out what he was carrying in the dark.
We wondered if it was a basket of bricks or rocks
to make hurling them at us
and stoning us on the spot,
more convenient for the crowd.
It didn’t take long
for someone to approach us.
“Well, boys, this is it.
It was good knowing you.”
Turns out the fellow
coming towards us was smiling…
and that basket…
was full of chunks of bread.
emerging from the dark behind him
came eleven other people,
each carrying a basket
just as full as the first one.
To this day I can’t tell you how it happened.
All I can tell you
is that I saw that bag
with the five loaves and two fish
get swallowed up into the night and the crowd,
and I never saw it again,
and twelve baskets of bread came back to us.
I can, though, tell you why it happened.
It happened because
he was trying to teach us all
that even when we think we have nothing,
we have more than we think,
and God can find a way
to transform it and use it.
Maria Evans splits her week between being a pathologist and laboratory director in Kirksville, MO, and gratefully serving in the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri , as Interim Priest at Trinity-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Hannibal, MO.