It’s me, Jen, typing away this morning. You’re going to miss out on the extravagant words my husband has a tendency to so delicately weave together. I hope, what I came across this morning encourages you like it did me, despite my smaller vocabulary. 😉
How many times have you read or heard about the story of the 5 loaves and 2 fish? Are you rolling your eyes? I bet you are right now. And you can picture me this morning, reading Mark 6, just waiting for yet another reading of this story. I have a warm spot in my heart for this story. Even with how familiar this miracle is, it is filled with hope that I have needed in various seasons in my life. In the past, I had been trying so hard to force a miracle through my own efforts, until I came across this passage. I had to be reminded that my responsibility was to simply give Him the loaves and the fish. Talk about a weight taken off my shoulders!
This morning, one word, one beautiful word, stuck out like a sore thumb that had not before. Can we take a moment to thank God that His Word is alive and well? His Word is still talking if we take these moments to listen like He did for me this morning. The word that stuck out to me was “blessed”. Mark 6:41 says “And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all.”
It wasn’t until this morning I thought, “Wait, what does blessed mean here?” In some sense, I pictured it much like our family. We sit around the table and if our bellies are not nearly so hungry we might say, “Lord, thank you so much for this day, for our family, and for this food. Thank you for protecting us today in the midst of all that’s going on in the world. Amen!” Or the prayer of those with a cavernous stomach goes something like this, “Thanks for this food, God. Amen!” My family grew up calling this the hungry man’s prayer.
For over 2,000 years the Israelites have said a short prayer before a meal and a longer prayer after the meal. They knew longer prayers are more manageable when a belly is satisfied. The first prayer is one I learned several years ago now, called the Hamotzi. Most biblical scholars agree that Jesus most likely would have been saying the Hamotzi before he broke the bread and gave it to the disciples right before the miracle of the food providing for a multitude. So I recited it to myself and, yet again, another sore thumb stuck out to me in that prayer.
Barukh attah, Adonai Eloheynu, Melekh-ha’olam, haMotzi lechem min ha’aretz.
(Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth)
I have, my whole life, blessed the food. A traditional prayer of western Christianity goes like this, “Lord bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies and our bodies to your service.” This is not a bad thing! However, I read that Jewish people in the early days would have been surprised at our thought that food needed to be blessed at all. Ok, so now that I’m set right on most likely what Jesus was saying before He broke that famous 5 loaves, we can settle on one thing that I’ll be doing differently from now on.
For me, the 5 loaves in my life are people. Matt and I both feel like God has been slowly getting us ready to help equip Christians to walk as full in their faith as they can. To say we feel inadequate and unsure is an understatement. I knew that I needed to give these people we’re praying for to God. This would give them the ability to take up the task ahead of them, trusting He would make them strong enough to carry it. My focus has been on the people, that they would be blessed. From now on, that’s step 2 for me. Step 1 will be Blessed are YOU, Lord our God, king of the universe who brings forth bread from the earth. And for me, that phrase will also include saying king of the universe who brings forth workers for the harvest.
The blessing over bread can be spoken or song, if you’d like to hear a prayer Jesus would have sung, here ya go! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sr_HW3rpXHE&t=21s