by Jonathan Vold

Wednesday, December 14


But he answered and said to them, 
“You give them something to eat.”
— Mark 6:37 (NKJV)

You, one and all of you,

nameless counselors,
collective observers
adding little to the sentence,
barely part of the plot,

yet there you are, pronounced
in every translation,
prompting response and
preceding the action.

Feed my sheep;
as the day begins to wear,
give them something to eat.

You, second person,

the emphasized imperative,
God’s audience specifically
commissioned and directed
to a singular assignment:

having first observed,
be ready to serve;
as the Lord has called you,
hear that holy word:

feed my sheep;
they do not need to go away,
give them something to eat.

You, Christ companion,

one of the twelve
on a failed retreat
and a broken rest,
your Sabbath overtaken
by a hungry crowd:

having seen the need
but unsure of the logistics,
you’ve been firmly turned
around to see the deed:

feed my sheep;
all these sheep without a shepherd,
give them something to eat.


You, fellow traveler,

being stirred one morning to the life of follow,
pulled by a pulse to leave hearth and hold,
drawn to the shepherd’s call and still
at the shepherd’s feet as the day grows old:

here in the hungry gather,
observing the surround,
with an echo in your stomach
and the journey on your shoulders,

feed my sheep;
lie them down in these green pastures,
give them something to eat.
You, faithful follower,
making your way from practical to miracle,
turning attention from mortal to divine,
being taught to pray, to teach, to heal,
now learn your greater discipline:

take these five loaves, these couple of fish
let them first be blessed and broken, then
give thanks for what you’re given
and let the people have their fill:

feed my sheep;
with all of your devotion,
give them something to eat.
You, just as you are,
one of the sheep
having come this far,
knowing the hunger
and needing the rest,
you give it all to Jesus
and Jesus answers
with a bit of a challenge,
a bit of a test

putting you front and center
to be God’s hands,
to show God’s love,
to prepare the feast:
feed my sheep;
for the love of God, they’re hungry,
give them something to eat.

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