Welcome back to the Love Your Story podcast. We all love a good story and today I bring you a story from one of my favorite cartoonists. Today’s episode features Cuyler Black. It’s story time.
In his ever so humorous, and even joyfully irreverent way, Cuyler Black, a …. Minister, creates stories and comics that bring home important points with humor and humanizing.
Today’s story - Make Loaves, Not War is a little reminder of what Christ meant about living with love and a poignant reminder that in the days of the Romans in Israel, a time of savage occupation, when people felt loyal to their politics, that it was ever so difficult to picture how a Savior could save his people with love.
I think it applies to the very situations we find ourselves in now. Enjoy.
Make Loaves, Not War
On a hilltop, late in the day, the disciples stood around Jesus. They watched as thousands of hungry people dined on five loaves of bread and two fish that had miraculously multiplied while being distributed in baskets among the crowd.
“One guy asked if we multiplied anything for dessert, preferably a light sorbet,” said Nathanael.
Peter snorted. “Where is he? I’ll feed him multiple knuckle sandwiches.”
“Save your knuckles for those Pharisees over there,” muttered Andrew. “Look at them. Standing around trying to figure out how this free buffet violates the Torah.”
“Forget the Pharisees!” said Simon the Zealot. “It’s the Romans I’m looking forward to kicking in the gluteus maximus!” He turned to Jesus. “Rabbi, when does our real training begin?”
“Real training?” said Jesus.
“Yeah! I mean, today’s lesson on how to be waiters isn’t exactly what we signed up for.” Simon looked to the other disciples for confirmation, then spoke to Jesus again. “Look, you’re a natural leader. You’re driven and fearless. Not to mention you can control the weather and drop-kick demons. You’re the Messiah! And we all know you’re planning something big. Revolution! Insurrection against our oppressors! So train us! We’re your hand-picked revolutionaries!”
“We’re totally committed,” said Philip. “We already ordered a bunch of these.” He held up a cap embroidered with the words Make Israel Great Again For the First Time in 900 Years But Who’s Counting?
“And I made this!” said Thomas, unfurling a massive flag emblazoned with the name JESUS. “The flagpole has a spearhead at one end for impaling Roman soldiers!”
“Boys, you don’t understand,” Jesus said. “I didn’t come to incite a violent rebellion against political authority. I’ve got bigger fish to fry.”
“No more fish! We’re stuffed!” groaned a man sitting nearby. “Unless there’s dessert.”
“Look,” Jesus continued. “My kingdom is not of this world. Kingdoms, empires, governments of this world will rise and fall, be good or bad, and even at their best are flawed. They are human constructions. Don’t put faith in them to solve every problem. Instead, put faith in your heavenly Father. Do you remember the prayer I taught you?”
The disciples looked at him with blank stares. Andrew brightened. “Oh, I know! Rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the—”
“No,” said Jesus. “That wasn’t from me.” He sighed. “Let me remind you. It starts: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
“Right! Right!” said Peter. “Then it goes: ‘Give us today our daily bread! Forgive—’”
“Enough bread!” a woman moaned. “Another crumb and I’ll hurl! … But is there dessert?”
Jesus massaged his temples for a moment.“My point is that it’s God’s kingdom you ought to work to establish. Pray for his authority to govern every heart. That’s what I’m here to teach and preach.” He turned to the crowd and raised his voice. “The kingdom of God is near! Repent and believe! Let your heavenly Father rule in your life, that you may love your enemies, bring good news to the poor, comfort the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, bring justice to the oppressed, gather all nations to worship him, and prepare the way for a new heaven and a new earth!” Jesus’ arms were raised to the sky, and his face shone with the glory of God.
A profound hush fell over the people as they contemplated it all.
“Any word on the sorbet?” came a voice, breaking the silence.
“Do you see how they hang on your every utterance, Master?” said Simon the Zealot. “You have them in the palm of your hand! I hear what you’re saying about a different kingdom, but this is a rare opportunity! There must be 5,000 men here! We can march straight to Jerusalem and overthrow the Romans!”
Jesus glared at his disciples. “None of you have any part with me if you choose the path of violence and insurrection! My Father’s kingdom is a dominion of peace! Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God!” His look softened. “Boys, it’s a hard thing I ask, but if you’re going to follow me, you must learn to love your enemies. You’ll have to put aside selfish impulses and deny yourselves. Can you do that?”
One by one, the disciples nodded. Peter gave a thumbs-up. “Easy as pie.”
“PIE!!” shouted the people, as they all got to their feet and surged up the hill toward Jesus.
Where to find Cuyler Black: https://www.cuylerblack.com
As we strive to put back together a country torn apart by political differences, soaked in fear of the other, or just deeply unsettled and feeling disconnected, I hope you will take a moment to take stock of your thoughts, the power you have to create your own story, and check in with love, Your challenge is to see if you are putting aside selfish impulses in order to try and understand others, and to think about what it might look like to love your enemies….
Love all of you listeners and thank you for being here today. We’ll see you in two weeks for the next episode of the Love Your Story podcast. Live Big!