In those days when there was again a great crowd without anything to eat, he called his disciples and said to them, 2’I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. 3If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way-and some of them have come from a great distance.’ 4His disciples replied, ‘How can one feed these people with bread here in the desert?’
Here again the Gospel of Mark draws us back to the ancient stories of the Old Testament. “How can one feed these people with bread here in the desert?” Our minds should suddenly start making connections to the stories of the Israelites in the wilderness for forty years. During that whole time God provided bread in the wilderness in the form of manna.
Manna wasn’t much. In fact, the Israelites didn’t even really know what it was. “Manna,” strictly translated means, “what is it?” The truth is that God feeds us, and we often don’t even really know what it is. Or, we don’t recognize it as God’s providence while it is happening.
My three years at seminary were a very dark time for me. It was cold and dark for what seemed to be nine months of the year. Maggie was in Dallas and we didn’t see each other that much. As I look back upon my time there, I realize that one thing kept me stitched together. Daily Morning Prayer in the chapel was the single routine in my life that kept me grounded. I didn’t know it at the time (mainly because chapel attendance is required), but that discipline meant everything in the world to me. Now, as I look back, I see that God provided bread for my soul in the darkness of seminary.
What bread has God given you in the desert of your soul?
The Rev. Jimmy Abbott