Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Journey With Matthew - Day 24

Read Matthew 15:29-16:12.

In a video resource called Countering Pharaoh, Walter Brueggemann does this little "riff" (that's the only word I can come up with!) on the bread narratives that work their way from manna in the desert to the ministry of Jesus. He recalls this anxiety of the disciples about the bread recounted in Matthew 16:5-11 "one of the saddest passages in all of the Bible." As he re-tells the story, Jesus is giving his "seminarians" a critical incident on which to reflect. We've had two feeding stories - of the five thousand and now of the four thousand. There was enough bread. But as Brueggemann puts it, "they don't yet understand that Jesus is in the bread business."

So they get in the boat and think, "oh shoot...we forgot the bread!" And then they get confused and have no idea what he's talking about when he speaks of the yeast of the scribes and Pharisees. They are still worried about having no bread.

Don't you get it, Jesus says? Can't you see? When we had the five loaves and fed five thousand people, do you remember how many baskets of leftovers you gathered? Or just like five minutes ago when we fed the four thousand with seven loaves - how many baskets of leftovers then? For crying out loud! Stop worrying about what you are going to eat! There is enough. 

From the manna in the wilderness, to these bread stories, we are invited into a counter-narrative - away from slavery and toward covenant. Away from Pharaoh's economy where we are constantly worrying that there is not enough (and if there is not enough then my job is to get what I can and hoard it) and into covenant where we ask for daily bread - where there is enough for today.

Give us this day, our daily bread, oh God. 

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