Jerry. His name was Jerry and he was homeless. At least, he was homeless by our standards. He’d come to the church with the group of homeless people we bought over every Sunday. Yet he was somehow different from all the others. He seemed to have a purpose in life even though he held no real job. Not one that paid him monetarily. He did some drywall work here and there for those who couldn’t afford to pay, painted for the same reason. He was presently staying on a cot at the Red Cross shelter.
We liked Jerry and so we took him to our house for lunch.
Heads bowed for the blessing, I began. “God is Great--”
“And The Lord said to Moses,” Jerry enlightened, head still bowed, eyes still closed, "I have heard the murmurings of the people of Israel; say to them, 'At twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; then you shall know that I am The Lord your God.'" In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning dew lay round about the camp. And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as hoarfrost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, What is it?"
My eight-year old son peeked with one eye when Jerry grew quiet.
I continued. “God is good!”
"I have compassion on the multitude,” Jerry emphasized, “because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.”
More peeking about, except for Jerry who remained poised and ready.
“Let us thank Him for our food,” I said tentative yet curious. What would Jerry have to add to this?
“As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine.”
“By his hands, we are fed . . .” I actually paused here making sure Jerry noticed if he were in fact paying attention which I do not think he was.
“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”
On the home stretch now, I bravely said, “thank you for our daily bread.”
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
I was barely able to get out the word, “Amen!” And I can honestly say, I've never enjoyed a meal more!
A simple prayer? Not anymore.
*Exodus 16:10-15 RSV
*Matthew 15 KJV
* John 20 KJV
* Matthew 6 KJV
* John 6:51 KJV
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