I am always surprised where I will find something about hunger and how we are called to help bring it to an end. As a church librarian, I recently worked with our library group to do some needed “weeding” of our collection to make room for new material.

One of the worn and tattered books in the youth section was a cookbook for children. It was written and illustrated by some Minnesota teachers and made to look as if it was hand printed with crayon drawings. While the book was no longer useful in our collection, I took it home to check out the recipes and dispose of the book itself.

Imagine my surprise to find that it included a retelling of the feeding of the five thousand. That retelling included an emphasis on the tired and hungry people who had traveled far to wait to hear Jesus. The story also carefully explained that Jesus was very happy with the small gift of five barley loaves and “two little fishes” which the young boy wanted to share. The blessing of the food thanked God for the child’s generous gift.

The miracle was so great that “One little lunch grew and grew so that all who were there were able to eat as much as they wanted until they were full.” And then the retelling reminded readers that there were even leftovers. Jesus told the disciples to collect the food that was left so nothing would be wasted.

The author said that although this happened a long time ago, Jesus still cares that everyone in the world has enough to eat. And, just as with the gift of the young boy’s lunch, what we do with our food can make a difference. As we learn to eat what our bodies need without being wasteful and being satisfied, as Jesus’ crowd was with the boy’s simple lunch is “enough.”

Stay alert — even an out-of-date cookbook can retell an old story in a way that helps remind us of God’s care for all who hunger. I doubt I will hear the story of the feeding of the five thousand again without focusing on the leftovers! What do you hear when the familiar story is read again?

Vernita Kennen
Incarnation, Shoreview