Bread, just bread…

Do you ever want to just give up? Does life feel hard? People menacing? A consistent positive narrative too elusive?

Me too.

So when I read,

Mark 8:14-16 (NIV)
The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. [15] “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” [16] They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”

…I feel a little better.

Because the disciples were clueless.
Because God has a sense of humor.
Because not all bread is the same.

The Bread of Life says, don’t muddle your values like the Pharisees, and the disciples say, huh? We need more grub?

They didn’t get it. He was the Bread.
He was the treasure. No matter what.

Maldives Rape 2


First step–google “contact Maldives”

Email a few of these tourism sites and tell them you will NOT visit their lovely but despotic spot of sand until they protect young children from rape.

Next contact your representatives. Tell them you want the US to raise concern about this vicious and destructive law.

The Maldives survive on tourist dollars. Help send them a message–state sponsored terrorism of raped children is not compatible with happy tourists.

And…research western interests/resorts in the Maldives. Complain. It will take a lot of voices to help these girls. So agitate.

And please– spread the word.

Maldives Rape

I remember missionaries who taught in the Maldives recounting a story about their students cheering the destruction of 9/11.

Now this: Maldives whips rape victims. They take girls who have been sexually abused and whip them 100 times.

It is hard to be a rape victim anywhere. But in the Maldives the perps are handed a carte blanche to abuse.

Poor little ones. If their stepdads don’t get them, the law will.

Asking for Signs

Mark 8:5,9-13 (NIV)
“How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Seven,” they replied. [9] About four thousand were present. After he had sent them away, [10] he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha. [11] The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. [12] He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” [13] Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.

Tonight the moon is amazing, just as the fierce wind that blew all day was equally amazing. You will forgive me for seeing signs of Love in them, after years with Him I do.

Jesus was the sign. They ask for a sign from Logos. They want to control him and cannot surrender to his love.

We are all that way–wrongly fearing the one who loves us best of all…because we are afraid. For some this life will be a love story–long and full. For others it will be a near miss–we will avoid him until the end is close, only to regret the wasted years.

And for some there will be an unrequited love, always waiting, always in love with them, while they willfully test the only God who saves us.

No sign indeed.

Breaking Bread

Mark 8:4-9 (NIV)
His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?” [5] “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Seven,” they replied. [6] He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people, and they did so. [7] They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. [8] The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. [9] About four thousand men were present. And having sent them away,

They go from stomach-gripping hunger to some bread, then some small fish, to a meal for a crowd of tens of thousands (4000 men plus women and children). They had leftovers.

People can be cagey about God. Understandably–He gets misrepresented a lot. The truth is He provides–air, water, food, sure. Not just those things. He wants to show us love.

Get close to Jesus and you will see some amazing things. Forget all that. The real miracle is the love of a person who knows us deeply and still abides with us.

He provides life; he provides blessing, but ultimately these things are just the incidental elements of the feast of God.

The real gift, the real nourishment is him.

Deja vu dining

Mark 8:1-4 (NIV)
During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, [2] “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. [3] If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.” [4] His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”

Alright. Some questions.

Why wait 3 days to feed them?

Didn’t we already do this miracle? Wouldn’t you think the disciples would have rubbed their hands together in anticipation and said, ok, whose got some snacks? Jesus is gonna break some bread!!

People are sheep, and sheep have a short attention span. We are credulous about Ponzi schemes and time shares, but cagey when we come to miracles.

Back in chapter 6 when we experienced the first feast of shared bread, Mark commented that the disciples did not understand the feast or for that matter, the power of Jesus.

So is this second miracle a reminder? A way of raising the expectation of divine providence?

I don’t know. I don’t know why I don’t believe faster, worry less, ask for bigger things, or trumpet God’s power more vociferously.

Ok, I do know.

I have been pushed down and discouraged by the power of darkness. Everything we humans do is threaded with discord, lust, and greed. We stink.

And sometimes our stink can distract us from his fragrance. We miss the myrrh in the stable because the dung is too deep.

Which is why, I think, he lets them wait three days for the meal, the feast, the splendor.

We have to be hungry, desperate, broken, before we will submit to the celebration of God.

He has done everything well

Mark 7:36-37 (NIV)
Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. [37] People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

I don’t expect people to believe in Jesus. It is a crazy story. I know that. But the people who knew Jesus up close, first century, in the flesh, told the story with no hint of irony.

We know they believed in Jesus because they died for his crazy story.

So take this story for what it is–the guy does an impossible thing and then says, don’t mention it.

But they can’t help themselves. He does all things well. They express their amazement at his power, his miracles.

I express mine as well–

His sovereign power demands my awe. His sacrifice of love changes my story.


Be Open

Mark 7:31-35 (NIV)
Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. [32] There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man. [33] After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. [34] He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”). [35] At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

The man’s disability was hindering his integration into community. His community responded the way it should (at least in the context of this story). They begged God for help.

Who needs help in your community? Too often our communities silence and marginalize the different, not recognizing we are all different, we all need healing.

We all need a voice.

Many, many people suffer because they have been deprived of a voice.

One summer years ago I took ASL. Part of our class assignment was to go to Union Station and pretend to be deaf and mute. It was a valuable exercise. To see how servers responded to my verbal powerlessness…who was kind? Who was impatient?

Jesus heals the man in a very visceral way–he puts his fingers in his ears, spits and touches the man’s tongue and then sighs deeply as he commands the healing.


He could raise the dead from a distance, why such raw physicality?

Because Jesus speaks the language of each human heart. His physical actions are a form of sign language the man can understand.

Nobody talks like this guy. He is the Word made flesh.

He sets the captive free.

Team God

Acts 18:6,9-10 (NIV)
But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” [9] One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. [10] For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”

So let me get this straight–the monotheistic followers of Yahweh in Corinth roundly rejected Paul’s message of hope, but God said he should stay because He had many people in this city?

So God’s people were the polytheistic natives? So God knew people who belonged to Him in Corinth?

We treat our belief systems like our football allegiances. And it is wrong. You could be a big Ravens fan and not know Flacco personally, you cannot be a big Jesus fan and not know him personally.

That is to say–fall in love with Jesus. Whether you are Greek or Jewish, slave or free, rich or poor, bad or better, you gotta push past the abusive believers and hold onto the most amazing Man.

Most amazing indeed…

Me: The Prequel

So the woman’s little girl is suffering so she travels to a man reported to be different, miraculous.

When she finds him she begs.

And he calls her a dog?

Not promising, unless you know the man.

Know that he is love
Know that he is incisive
Know that he will give more for her life than anyone else.

Give it all, in fact.

J. taught me that words only matter when actions buttress them.

He taught me I was allowed to distrust empty words.

He is, after all, the word of God made real to us.

So he challenges the woman’s pride, nationality, and assumptions. He calls her out. And her answer has been the foundation of my motherhood for the past 17 years.

Don’t matter how you look
Don’t matter if you are pretty
Or even smell good…
Being a mama means you sacrifice your pride to keep your little ones safe.

No one safer than Jesus.