This sonnet draws from the episode of the Feeding of the 5,000 from Mark 6:30-44. In service and ministry, Jesus repeatedly asks of his disciples things which they cannot provide or accomplish in themselves. Over and over again, it is not as if they are a cut above the masses to whom they minister, but they are among those masses.
It seems to me that the work of faith is the “buying without cost” which Isaiah mentions in Isaiah 55:1-3. How does one take possession of something that is freely given? One merely receives it. Now, just because a thing is free doesn’t mean it is of no value. The value of what is freely given is revealed in the manner in which one receives it and how much it is treasured afterward.
Worn thin by the work, amazed but weary,
We recount our deeds healing the possessed.
Seeing our hunger, he calls us dearly,
Come ‘way with me into quiet and rest.
By boat we seek a solitary shore,
But the crowd follows and meets us hungry;
We who have left all, who have nothing more
Have become one flock, bewildered, wand’ring.
You give them something to eat, you said
As if from the sky bread falls prodigious.
How with only two fish, five loaves of bread
Can there be enough for them, you, and us?
Come buy without cost food, rich, free, and fine
Feed on what fills, is good, my bread and wine.
© Randall Edwards 2019.
This sonnet is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.
Artwork: James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes (La multiplicité des pains), 1886-1896. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 7 3/8 x 10 9/16 in. (18.7 x 26.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.134 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.134_PS1.jpg)