Br. James Koester1 John 4:7 – 12
Psalm 72: 1 – 8
Mark 6: 30 – 44

Those of you who have heard me preach before know that when reading Scripture, my attention is often caught, not by the soaring passages, or the amazing miracles, but the details that often creep in around the edge. Yes, the majesty of the Prologue of John, or the poignancy of the Foot Washing at the Last Supper, or the beauty of the Psalms are not to be missed. However, there is more to Scripture than majesty, poignancy and beauty. There is also the ordinary routine of daily living. It is there, in the ordinary routine of daily living, that God can be found as well. And that is why I am drawn, not to the miracle of the loaves and the fish, but to what comes before.

Chapter Six in the Gospel according to Mark is one of those breathless sections of Mark. A lot happens, and I mean a lot. It begins with Jesus’ rejection by his hometown and carries on to the sending out of the Twelve on their mission, the dance of Herodias and the death of John the Baptist, the return of the Twelve from their mission, the Feeding of the Five Thousand, the calming of the sea, and there arrival at Gennesaret. As I mentioned, in 56 breathless verses, Mark crams in an awful lot of action, so much so, that if it were read all at once, our heads would be spinning!

As you may know, this kind of concentrated action is typical of Mark’s Gospel. It reminds me of an excited child coming home from a great adventure trying to condense a whole day’s activity into a few sentences: and then we did this! Then we did that! Then this other thing happened! Then, guess what happened???!!! Read More

 Mark 6:30-44

Sometimes following Jesus can be inconvenient. In today’s Gospel narrative (Mark 6:30-44), we find the disciples in just this kind of position. The disciples have just returned from mission, and are reporting back to Jesus all they have done: they have proclaimed good news to the poor, they have cast out demons in his name, and they have anointed with oil and cured many who are sick. Power has gone out of them in ministry, and so the disciples are tired, and they need a break. Jesus perceives this and invites the disciples to a deserted place to rest. But Jesus’ fame has spread such that the encroaching crowd forbids it. The disciples ask Jesus to disperse the crowd so they can get on with their well-deserved rest, and so feel inconvenienced when Jesus compassionately commands them to feed the crowd with the meager provisions on hand. Read More