THE SHAPE OF GOD’S TABLE
It is marvelous, that God would enter our lives not just in the form of sermons or Bibles, but in food. God comes to feed us more than just teach us. Lovers understand that. As Gandhi said, “There are so many hungry people in the world that God could only come into the world in the form of food.”
Jesus taught His disciples to be distributors of His blessing and ‘first responders’ to those in need. That’s why He involved them in the process; He was equipping them to represent Him in the future. In the feeding of the five thousand, the miracle of multiplication did not take place when the food left Christ’s hands, but the disciples’ hands. He blessed the five loaves and two fish, gave it to them, and they set out to do what seemed ridiculous: feeding a multitude with a boy’s lunch. But as they did it, they experienced the miraculous.
Why? Because when the Lord’s blessing is upon what you have, you’ll succeed in spite of the challenges and obstacles. God has given each of us something that others need. But sometimes we fail to recognize it, or we doubt its worth. So, we conclude, ‘I don’t have what it takes.’
You do—but it’s in seed form! Jesus described it this way: ‘First the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.’ (Mark 4:28) God has deposited within you something He wants you to recognize, nurture, and use for His glory. When He blesses it, you’ll be amazed at the underdeveloped potential you’ve been running around with.
The miracle of the loaves and fishes began when a boy found an unmet need and decided to give what he had. That’s also when the disciples discovered what Jesus could do with what they had, even though it looked hopelessly inadequate. The word for today is—use what God has given you!
When we start making the Eucharistic meal something to define membership instead of to proclaim grace and gift, we always get in trouble; that’s been the temptation of every denomination that has the Eucharist.
Too often we use Eucharist to separate who’s in from who’s out, who’s worthy from who’s unworthy, instead of to declare that all of us are radically unworthy, and that worthiness is not even the issue. If worthiness is the issue, who can stand before God? When God invites you to his table of meal, he wants you to invite other people and share what you have received and then, you will receive more.
I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from Heaven so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from Heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.
Fr. Charles Chidiebere Mmaduekwe