Thursday, Third Week in Lent

by Matthew B. Harper

Mark 6:37 – But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.”

On Easter Sunday in 2003 I decided I would cook food for anybody in my housing pod who would eat. Prison food here is much better than most, but it is possible to combine different foods from the canteen to cook up something special. With plenty of advance planning I saved some money and assembled quite a spread. I had some friends in the kitchen acquire vegetables and spices; from the canteen I got some of every good food offered. They served boiled eggs for breakfast that morning, and we brought dozens back to the building. My mom taught me how to cook, and my friends were looking forward to it this feast.

But things in prison are never that easy. Some of my friends don’t like some of my other friends. Everybody wanted some of the food, but some insisted on eating at separate tables, away from each other. I grieved over this, but agreed. I wanted to do this for them. When it came time to cook and prepare the food we had ten men show up to my cell to help cook. We had guys from all over showing up with cold sodas to drink and cookies for desert. One of my kitchen connections refused to let me pay them for the vegetables. We fed over twenty men, and most of the ones who didn’t help cook, helped clean. It was Easter, and it was good. Most of my cooking helpers were Christians and we prayed over the food as we fixed it. Our prayers were answered.

Some say Jesus feeding 5000 men is a miracle; others say that all he did was convince the crowd to share. To me that is a miracle either way.

That it may please thee so to rule the hearts of thy servants, this nation, and all in authority, that they may do justice, and love mercy, and walk in the ways of truth, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord” BCP 150

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