Sunday 25th July 2021 – Rev Arnold Dixon 

A big lunch

John 6.1-21

A large crowd have been closely following Jesus, and Jesus questions his disciples as to how they will provide hospitality to the horde. Andrew, one of Jesus' disciples, brings a young boy's small offering to Jesus, unsure of how a trivial contribution could be used. Jesus takes the offering, thanks God for it and feeds about five thousand people – with 12 baskets left over.

Could you enjoy a picnic with friends, relying on everyone bringing something to share, or would you think you had nothing to contribute to the meal? When a boy gave his picnic to Jesus, everyone was blessed by God's sharing economy. We bring; God multiplies; all receive – whoever we are!

This week we explore bringing what we have and sharing what God makes of it

 

Call to worship

Let us bring ourselves to God,
whatever our age and gifts.
Let us prepare to share in worship,
giving thanks for all that God shares with us.
Let us open our hearts and minds
to know more of God's unconditional love and care,
and be ready to share it with others.

 

A gathering prayer

Lord of all creation, giver of life,
we offer ourselves to you.
Teach us how to give ourselves to others,
generously and wholeheartedly,
sharing who we are and what we have.
May we learn to share all the world's resources,
so that everyone has enough
of the good things that you provide.
May we all rejoice in your goodness.
Amen

 

A prayer of approach

God, our generous provider,
as the young boy offered all he had to Jesus –
five loaves and two small fish –
we come today offering you everything we have:
a pocketful of faith, a bit of time,
ourselves, our gifts, our talents.
And we know that, however small our gift or offering,
you will do amazing things with it,
far more than we can ever hope, believe or imagine.
Thank you, awesome God.
Amen

 

Brother, sister, let me serve you:  Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to this version

Click on the Link :   https://youtu.be/EQaOErUUjm8

 

A prayer of adoration

Hospitable God,
extravagant provider,
we worship you because we can.
You take our inadequacies, our limitations,
and pour out your blessings upon us.
We stand in awe of you,
sensing your presence among us.
Overwhelmed by your kindness,
we fall at your feet.
Amen

 

A prayer of confession and an Assurance of forgiveness

With our time and with our money:
forgive us, Lord, when we have not been generous.
In helping others, and being hospitable:
forgive us, Lord, when we have not been generous.
When we have been blessed with so much:
forgive us, Lord, when we have not been generous.
When we could have gone the extra mile and shared what we have:
forgive us, Lord, when we have not been generous.
In using our resources, gifts and talents:
forgive us, Lord, when we have not been generous.
Most generous God,
help us to be more like you.
Amen

 

A prayer of thanksgiving

Thank you, Lord, that you go ahead of us into our communities;
you are there pouring out your generosity and your hospitality
in our neighbourhood.
Thank you that as you are transforming our homes, our streets,
our schools, our places of work, you are transforming us so we
can play our part.
Thank you that we can come together as one,

sharing all that you have given us.
Thank you, Lord.
Amen

 

Let there be love shared among us:  Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to this version

Click on the Link :   https://youtu.be/vZYQZPHABY8

 

Reading: John: 6:1-21 Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

1  Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias),  2  and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick.  3  Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples.  4  The Jewish Passover Festival was near. 5  When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”  6  He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7  Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year's wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” 8  Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up,  9  “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” 10  Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there).  11  Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. 12  When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”  13  So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. 14  After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”  15  Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

Jesus Walks on the Water

16  When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake,  17  where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them.  18  A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough.  19  When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened.  20  But he said to them, “It is I; don't be afraid.”  21  Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

 

2; Kings: 4:42-44 Feeding of a Hundred

42  A man came from Baal Shalishah, bringing the man of God twenty loaves of barley bread baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain. “Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said.

43  “How can I set this before a hundred men?” his servant asked. But Elisha answered, “Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the Lord says: ‘They will eat and have some left over.'”  44  Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.

 

Let us build a house where love can dwell:  Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to this version Click on the Link :   https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00jlxp7

 

Sermon:  Bringing what we have and sharing what God makes of it.

The feeding of the five thousand is such a familiar story. It brings us a setting we can visualise, several characters playing their part, and an outcome that we can see either as miraculous or as a stirring of human conscience. Did Jesus multiply the food, yes but it all started with a boy who was bold enough to approach adults who had a problem, to dare to suggest a solution.

The story illustrates how God wants to receive whatever we bring to him, and that everyone can make a contribution, because nothing is too little to offer. Even our smallest effort will be multiplied by God so that all can receive and be satisfied. Is that idea reflected in your opinion of yourself? Could you really work alongside God in this way?

Might you have been the boy with the picnic, feeling too young and insignificant to expect to be noticed, yet itching to help? Or Andrew, the hesitant disciple wondering why he had opened his mouth to say, ‘Let's feed all these with this little'? But he said it anyway.

Or can you relate to Elisha, from the Old Testament reading, who was given too much food for himself but not enough for his followers. What would you have done? Saved it for your journey? Rationed it out? Elisha shared it, and God multiplied it.

To give all that we have, wholeheartedly, requires faith that we will still have what we need. When we trust God for our daily bread, every day, we can be generous with today's bread. God will, in his generous love, provide for tomorrow. As the psalmist says, he provides ‘food in due season'. And Paul assures the Ephesians that if their lives are rooted in love then they will be ‘filled with all the fullness of God'. It is about much more than just the bread.

Jesus gave thanks, then gave food. When we are consciously thankful for what we have, we can realise how richly abundant are our lives and be liberated to share more freely. Giving in God's economy is not by some financial calculation but from the spontaneous desire to let God multiply it so all may receive enough. On those occasions when we are on the receiving end of another's giving, can we acknowledge God's blessing with gratitude? The hope is that those who receive blessings will share them with others. What has God given you that he will multiply if you share it?

 

All I once held dear:   Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to this version

Click on the Link :    https://youtu.be/oxpPIa-BskY

 

Prayers of intercession

Lord, what you can do with so little! Yet many of us feel our contributions to be so meagre.

We lift up, Lord, all who feel they have nothing worth bringing to your table.
We think of the broken, in mind, body and spirit.
Broken by ill health. Broken by bereavement, divorce or separation.
Those broken by poverty, redundancy or bankruptcy.

Lord, we offer you our prayers for the broken. Take. Touch. Bless.

Lord, you multiplied the loaves and fishes, producing a big lunch for thousands.
We bring before you those supplying our loaves and fishes today.
We pray for fishermen struggling to maintain their livelihoods.
We lift up all farmers and the harvest of crops.
We think of the effect of climate change which, if nothing alters,

will mean major adaptations for farmers in how and what they can farm.

Many places are experiencing the effects of climate change now.
We think of our own high temperatures of late

and the unprecedented high temperatures in Canada.

The wild fires in America. The floods in Western Europe.
All these destroy lives and livelihoods.
We lift before you all those affected.

Lord, we offer you our prayers for fishermen and farmers. 

All those involved in the food chain.

And the effect of climate change on the world.

Take. Touch. Bless.

Lord, you feed your hungry people in more ways than one. During these past months many ordinary people whose businesses were closed stepped up to feed others within their communities.
We pray now for your hand on the recovery of all businesses, particularly those in hospitality. 

May our highstreets and communities flourish once more.
Many charities have found donations dwindling. Lord, multiply what little they have.

Lord, we offer you our prayers for all businesses and charities in need of your blessing.

Take. Touch. Bless.

Lord, we pray for your church. Pray that all in leadership will be guided by Godly wisdom at all times.
As the ban on singing in church has been lifted, we pray that people who found church on the web during lockdown will want to come and experience the fellowship of services with voices lifted in praise and worship. But however they attend church, whether it be walking through the door

or via social media, we pray your church will always be welcoming,

offering warm hospitality to those who are seeking.

Lord, we offer you our prayers for the church,

for your people of all ages. Take. Touch. Bless.

Amen

 

King of Kings, Majesty;   Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to this version

Click on the Link :     https://youtu.be/HF7Xm9-kaMk

 

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father,

Who art in Heaven

Hallowed be thy name

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done in earth,

As it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive them that trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

The power, and the glory,

For ever and ever.

Amen

 

When we walk with the Lord:  Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to this version

Click on the Link :   When We Walk With The LORD. (music video)

 

A sending out prayer

Lord, help us to remain thankful for even the simple things.
Keep us focused on your loving, generous nature,
so that we can freely share what we have and who we are.
Let us be cheerful givers and humble receivers,
that all may have enough and be satisfied.
Amen