When Jesus feeds that enormous crowd, the dream comes true - a banquet has been prepared by the Messiah for God's holy people. Jesus, God’s own Word of love, himself feeds the hungry as they recline on the grass, in their Sabbath rest. And the Psalmist’s dream comes true- “He has prepared a banquet for me…fresh and green are the pastures where He gives me repose.” And what Isaiah glimpsed from afar in prophetic reverie is now seen clearly- “they shall be fed with rich sweet food on my holy mountain; no more fear or hunger or tears or mourning.”
All this abundance only dreamt of has come true, taken flesh in Jesus; bread ‘as much as they wanted,’ as much as we want. Perhaps it was on this mountain that Jesus understood most clearly for the first time that it would never be enough for Him, merely to feed those He loved even with such abandon and abundance. Perhaps it was after this busiest day of blessing and doling out all that bread that Jesus dreamt of Himself being our Food, dreamed that He had to do it, dreamed with longing to be hidden in His creatures, dreamt of Himself as real Food. Perhaps it was also here that Jesus dreamt the frightening dream of another mountaintop, where He saw too clearly the only way that He could feed us forever with the healing Bread of Himself. Then and there he dreamt the most frightening dream of all, the dream of Golgotha, where the Bread would finally be broken to pieces for us.
What else is there left to say if God has loved us so, if God wants to feed us with Himself so much? Maybe all we need to say is "Thank you" and open our hands and hearts to receive Him Desire is the only thing left- preferring nothing whatever to the Bread, becoming ourselves desire for him, becoming even bread for one another; realizing in all truth that he has spoiled us so that nothing else can really please or fill us but Him. He wants the joy of filling us up. That is what love does - it gives itself away. And so once again we come to him, to whom else shall we go. Here at this altar, we are invited to give ourselves, as he gives himself, and to get caught up in the self-forgetfulness that is God.
Photograph by Brother Brian.