Sunday, 22 April 2018


This poem was written for our Evensong service on Sunday 22nd April. It is a response to the Old Testament reading for that evening; Exodus 16:4-15, specifically picking up the theme of bread/manna and the idea of the Israelites complaining to God.

If you'd prefer to read a sermon on that passage instead, you might want to look at one I wrote a couple of years ago; The Immigrants and the Bread.

Hope you enjoy!

You rescued me from the den of my enemies,
Brought me out of slavery and into the wilderness,
Led me to safety away from my oppressors,
And I complained.

I have seen miracles: seen seas parted, and fiery cloudy pillars,
I have been led on a journey, 
     travelling to start a new life in a new land filled with milk and honey
I have been set free.
And I complained.

I was wandering in unfamiliar lands, led away from everything I once knew,
I was hungry and thirsty, longing to return to my captors, 
     so they would feed me,
I would have been better off dead than starting this journey.
And I complained.

And you heard me.

I was scared, but you caused meat to fall from heaven; 
     flesh of divine origin for me to feast on each evening.
And every morning, unleavened bread lay on the ground, 
     like the morning dew.
I merely had to gather and eat. 
     A double-portion each weekend before the Sabbath.
I did not complain; I was satisfied.

I was in the crowd by the lake, hungry and thirsty.
You were teaching, but you had provided no food for us.
All we could scrape together was five barley loaves, and two sardines.
And I complained.

Again, you heard me.

I was scared, but you caused those loaves to multiply, and we all ate.
After we had all had our fill, there were twelve baskets left over
     an abundance enough to feed an army.
It was not bread I deserved, but a stone.
I did not complain; I was satisfied.

We were eating our last meal together
    – you held up the bread and broke it before us
You told us that the bread was your body which, too, would be broken.
You said you were going to die.
And I complained.

And you heard me.

I was scared it might be true,
     but you passed me the bread and told me to eat.
It was bread, it was manna, it was your divine flesh.
It was a double portion, an abundance, the last bread I would ever need.
I did not complain. I was satisfied.

I was standing at the cross, watching you die.
Your body torn, like the bread you broke, 
     blood flowing from your wounds like wine.
You did not open your mouth. You did not complain.
But I did. I complained.

And you heard me again.

I was scared this was the end, and just like at the ending a meal,
     you said it was finished.
You gave up your spirit and your last breath.
Your body was taken down and laid on the dewy ground.
And you never complained. You were satisfied.

But me? I cannot do that. I know I will still complain.
And... I think I should.
I will not be scared.
After all, I know you will hear me.

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