52 Weeks at the Table – Week 37
Jesus sent his twelve out two by two to preach repentance to heal. While they were gone, his cousin John the Baptizer was arrested and beheaded. The twelve returned, excited to tell of the results of the authority He had given them – but He needed time away to mourn; and they to rest. Yet the crowds followed, and from the lunch shared by one boy, He fed more than five thousand.
After walking across a wind-choppy lake that night, arguing with Pharisees about what causes sin, healing a foreign woman’s child and a deaf-and-mute man, Jesus once again fed a crowd, and again from a little bread and a little fish. Once again, baskets full of leftovers are gathered – all because, as He told the twelve, “I have compassion on them.” Yet He also warned the twelve about the Pharisees’ leaven, which does not bring the blessing that the multiplying loaves could bring.
A Prayer Over the Bread
Lord of bounty and unbounded compassion, we recognize Your providence in this bread. It is the tangible expression of Your great love for us; unprepared in a lonely place, yet hungering for the words He speaks – just as He hungered only for Your sustenance in the desert where He was tempted (Luke 4:1-13). We remember His words to His twelve about the yeast that grows and spreads, compared to the bread which keeps on giving. This bread we also recognize as Your Word – Your Son – Jesus. Amen.
A Prayer Over the Cup
Father, we recall Jesus’ words to the Pharisees about washing and sin. Your providence, whether we think of it as ordinary or miraculous, was surely expressed in its fullness by the giving of the blood of Your Son – caressed now in this cup. Wash us from sin that corrupts from within us through this fruit of the vine. We pray this through Christ Himself: Amen.