A group of actors readers present this piece – it may be read with scripts or acted out.
Cast – Jesus, peter, Andrew, a teenager, and a couple of other disciples
Peter – The crowd here look hungry. We should send them to find food and lodgings in the inns around. It’ll be good for local trade, make you a bit more popular Jesus, counter some of the dodgy rumours they’re spreading about you.
Jesus frowns, scratches his chin, and thinks for a moment.
Jesus – I’ve got an idea – you feed them.
Peter – Er… I think I misheard you there… I thought you said…
Jesus – You Feed them.
Peter – Yes… that’s what I thought you said. Just one tiny problem with that, Lord…
Jesus – Philip, are there any stores nearby? We could buy food for everyone. That would be good.
Jesus smiles at Peter now.
Jesus – That would help…the local trade.’
Peter – Look, Jesus, there’s no way we have the money. Send them all home, they’re not our responsibility anyway. Things will get out of hand, they’re hungry and they’ll get irritable and bad tempered and there’ll be a riot. Next thing you know the Romans will call it an uprising and that’ll be the end of everything.
Jesus – Yes you’re right, too expensive to buy it all…
Peter – Absolutely.
Jesus – Yes – I know – you feed them.
Peter – Stop saying that! Look we’d love to, but we don’t have anything.
Jesus raises an eyebrow.
Jesus – I thought you guys had brought some lunch with you?
Peter – Us? What… us? Ah! Er… Well, no, not… I mean, we did have, sort of, but we er… well it was lunch time, so we ate it… all. Every last crumb…
Andrew – (rushing on with a small sandwich box) I’ve got something!
Peter turns and glares at his brother.
Peter – Nice try Andrew, but I don’t think a couple of fish finger sandwiches will stretch far, do you?
Andrew – It’s a start! Look I’ve got this little boy’s food!
Peter – Then give it him back, that’s stealing.
Andrew – Here you are Jesus.
Before Peter can stop him, Andrew gives the box to Jesus.
Peter – Wait a minute Jesus, this is…
He stops as Jesus closes his eyes and lifts the box up as he silently says grace. Peter stops and sighs and waits. Then Jesus opens his eyes, a coupe, of the disciples join Andrew and Jesus opens the box and mimes handing food to the disciples. They then leave the stage, miming handing out as they go.
Andrew – Here you go everyone, have some of this is yummy, there’s loads to go round.
Peter buries his head in his hands. Then looks up at Jesus who is smiling at him and offering him the box.
Peter – Jesus, we can’t do this, there’ll be a riot… There’s just too many people.
Jesus – Tell you what then, Peter, you need a job to take your mind off the problem, why don’t you get them to sit in groups, say fifty or a hundred. That’ll make the distribution more manageable.
Peter – More manageable? Distribution? Of what? Two crumbs each? Oh whatever. Right. (speaks to audience) Look you lot, he said fifty okay, no – not forty nine, not fifty one, just fifty. What are you doing? Stay with that group. No you can’t come and sit over here just cause your friend’s there. It’ll ruin the numbers. Go away! And where d’you think you’re going? No you can’t join that group just because the view’s a bit better over there…
A teenager runs up to him.
Teen – Is it just fish and bread or d’you have figs too? Only I don’t really like fish.’
Peter – You won’t taste it anyway there’s only two scales per person.
Teen – So no alternatives then?
Peter – Yes there’s an alternative – eat it or leave it. Now go away!
Andrew walks on with a large basket full of bread.
Peter – Where d’you get that?
Andrew – Leftovers. Want some?
Peter’s mouth drops.
Jesus – See? I knew it would be all right…
Peter – How did you do it?
Jesus – How did you do it? I just gave you a few bits of bread and fish. You did the rest.
Peter shakes his head.
Peter – Incredible.
Jesus – Yes, and you know the best bit? Look. Pharisees and prostitutes, rich and poor, sick and healthy – all eating together. The kingdom of God is like a banquet Peter, a party. Happy are those who come along and celebrate. Everyone’s invited. Your God is generous Peter, never forget that…
They walk off together.