Fish, Loaves, and the Miracle of Love
The sea lapped at his ankles, spraying its waves toward the crowd like a playful puppy dances around its owner. The sea loved him. He smiled at the water, an expression of his appreciation and his understanding of the unknown depths.
His mind turned back to his boyhood days. He splashed and dived, the salty water burning his tongue and eyes. He walked in the shallows. He loved how the sand felt squishy and cool on his toes. His eyes pierced through the blue and gray, looking for flashes of color. Fish, seaweed, sea stars. He loved them all.
He waved hello to the fisherman in their boats. They waved and smiled back, leaving their course language and salty habits behind for a moment to revel in the joy of the young boy. He had a way of bringing them happiness and an uncanny knack of bringing the fish toward their vessels.
“Come in on now. It’s time for supper.” The wind carried her voice over the hill.
“Oh, just one more moment, momma,” the young boy pleaded back.
Then he saw her come over the hill, his baby brother on her hip and his little sister trailing behind. “Yeshua, you need to get your head out of the clouds for once. Get in here and wash up. I don’t have time for your childishness.”
Her stern tone cut his heart. He knew that she loved him, but she had so many worries. Would his father come home tonight? Or would he abandon the family once again, running to the arms of his lover, or the bar. Would he start trouble with the Roman soldiers? Would he go to jail or would he come home?
Don’t be afraid. The Voice whispered in his heart. She loves, but she has forgotten how to be a child. The kingdom belongs to little children like you.
“Come on Yeshua.” His mother grabbed his hand and tore him from the sea. A tear fell from his eye to her hand, and she looked at his face. Her tone softened. “Come on, kiddo. It will be ok. I know you love it out here, but we must be ready for father to come home.” She looked out at the sea, memories filling her own eyes. He wondered often about those memories, but she never shared her story.
“Tell us a Sabbath story, Rabbi!” someone shouted from the crowd, jarring his thoughts back to the present. The Rabbi took a long look at the sea, and then he turned around. The lines on his face betrayed his weariness and lied about his young age. He sighed and sat down on a rock. The crowd jostled closer to him, impatient to hear him, touch him, take some of his magic.
“Father, help me have patience,” he breathed.
Yeshua looked at the pleading crowd, and his heart melted for the thousandth time. They are just children, full of foolishness, he thought. They do not mean to harm.
“Love is the greatest miracle, the only true magic,” he began. The people quieted down, and even the lapping waves seemed to calm in the warmth of the teacher’s voice. A few birds called to each other, flying lazily in the late summer afternoon.
“Love is the kingdom. Love is the awakening. Whoever desires Truth must first seek Love. You follow all manner of rules and religion, but you have not learned the deep magic of Love. Love YHWH, love your neighbor, love yourself. You oppress and hate each other, and the world is destroyed.
Follow me in the way of compassion and understanding. You have seen the leper healed and the lame walking, but I tell you that a far greater miracle is within your reach. The greatest miracle on earth is a human heart changed by Love.
You have learned Law and you have learned Philosophy. You argue all day about the best way to earn power and get money. You think you are so smart in all your endless arguing, but you do not love. You are but stubborn mules who do not understand anything. Leave the world behind and pursue the greater kingdom. Love invites you in.
Love is healing. Love is life.”
The message ran long and the people grew weary. A few dozed in the long rays of the evening sun. The disciples surrounded the Master and said, “Rabbi, you must dismiss this crowd and send them away to buy food. They are tired, and this is a deserted place.”
Yeshua looked hard at them. “Have you not heard my words?” He shook his head. “You give them food.”
“But Rabbi, the crowd is huge. How can we possibly feed them?”
Yeshua stood up. “Who here has brought food for the day’s journey?” The crowd stirred and mumbled. Some people glanced at the satchels and baskets sitting in the grass next to them. Good, respectable, law-abiding Jews always brought a supply of food with them in these times of the Roman occupation. You could never know when you might have to dine with sinners, or eat an item sacrificed to an idol or prepared in an unclean way.
Yeshua stood up and looked out over the sea. Father, I ask you for a miracle, his thoughts prayed. Change their hearts and let them see you.
“Rabbi.” The small voice weaved into the master’s thoughts.
Yeshua turned around to see a small boy tugging at his coat. “I have some food that I want to share.”
The disciples walked over. “How can this little kid help our situation?” they demanded.
“Well, open his basket and see,” Yeshua gently responded. He bent down and looked into the boy’s eyes. “My child, you are creating a miracle. Watch and see.” The twinkle in the master’s eyes danced back in the eyes of the boy.
Yeshua shouted out to the crowd. “Look here. We have five loaves and two fishes. We will have miraculous provision.” He opened his hands to heaven and prayed, “Heavenly Father bless this meal we will partake in together. We are one and we dwell in your oneness. We are learning the meaning of love.”
Yeshua lowered his hands into the basket and broke the bread.
A woman approached and laid her basket at his feet. “Rabbi, I would like to offer my meal in thanks to heaven. I will share my small portion with my brother.”
Another man approached and silently laid his basket down.
Bread, fish, fruits, vegetables. One by one, people from the crowd came and laid down their portions.
Some grumbled, “What if there are sinners or unclean people in the crowd. Are we not commanded to stay away from them and their food?”
Yeshua smiled. “Little children, you do well to follow the letter of the Law, but you do not understand the spirit of the Law. Love fulfills the whole law. Love makes the unclean clean again. Moshe preached the Law, and the people felt the fierce love of YHWH. But your teachers have elaborated on the Law for centuries, and turned it into endless rituals without feeling or compassion. I again preach the deeper Law of Love.
The Law of Love heals your bodies and heals your hearts. Share with each other and learn the deeper truth of love.”
Soon, the hill was filled with food and givers. The small portions grew into bountiful feast, filling the stomachs and hearts of all.
Yeshua smiled and turned back toward the sea, now calm and reflecting the twilight stars. He prayed silently. “Thank you, Father, for showing your children today that Love overcomes all fear. There is so much bounty you have provided us on the earth, we just need to share and love.”