Worship reflections for Sunday 2nd August – Rev’d Barbara Bennett
Isaiah 55: 1-5; Matthew 14:13 – 21
Gracious God, you give us so much.
All your creation overflows with goodness.
We have more than we need,
And your bounty feeds our bodies, minds and spirits.
Thank you for your gracious gifts.
Forgive us when we take them for granted.
Forgive us when we do what we should not do.
Forgive us when we say what should remain unsaid.
Help us to be the people you created us to be,
Standing up for truth, justice and freedom.
We ask this in Jesus’ name
She’s always the same, my mother, when she’s having a clear out.
“Get out from under my feet now, Mark. Go for a walk for a while”
I had heard that the Teacher was on the road,
So I went to the cupboard and took what I needed.
There were five little barley loaves which mother had baked that morning;
Two little fish left over from supper last night.
I added a flask of cool water from our well,
Tied everything up into a cloth and ran out of the door
Before she could change her mind and find me a task to complete.
I hate housework!
Jonah was sitting outside his house on the wall.
He called as I went past but I didn’t stop.
There were lots of people on the road, all going the same way,
All climbing the hill. So I joined them, and Jonah joined me.
He had to run to catch up and was out of breath,
Jumping and leaping and hollering as usual.
His hands were empty though – that’s half my food gone!
He always eats what I have!
At last we found the Teacher and his friends at the top of the hill.
I got to a good place where I could see and hear
Because he tells good stories I know.
Jonah kept poking me and prodding and grinning
So I wished he had stayed on his wall!
I couldn’t concentrate!
The sun was really hot, and I was glad of the water!
People who were sick came up for healing
And stayed to hear Jesus talk.
At last, as the sun began to sink towards the top of the hill
I heard his friends talking to one side of me.
“They should go home now” they were saying.
“He should send them away, it’s late and there is nothing to eat up here.
Where will we find food for all these people?
There must be five thousand or more of them.”
Then Jesus came; so close I could almost touch him!
“What food have we got?” he said.
Suddenly I found myself tugging the sleeve of the friend nearest to me.
“Please Sir, take my picnic if you want. But there is not much!”
They showed Jesus my five loaves and two little fishes.
He nodded and smiled and told everyone to sit down again.
He held on of my mother’s loaves up towards heaven and said a prayer.
He broke it, and his friends brought the food round to everyone.
We all had enough to eat and more (but I saw some grown ups
getting food out of their pockets then –
I can’t be sure but I think they might have been ashamed
Of withholding what they had to keep for themselves.)
When everyone had eaten enough there was still lots left
Of my mother’s barley loaves and two little fish in the baskets.
I took some home with me, and my mother made the evening meal
With what Jesus had blessed.
She could not believe that her barley loaves had fed so many.
But she wasn’t there was she? Too busy sweeping!
Next time Jesus comes here I’m going to go and see what else he can do.
Maybe he can fly, or find coins behind my ears.
I’d like that!
But for now, I am just trying to think how he fed so many people
With so little!
We have seen so much evidence of human generosity in the last few months. Strangers have delivered essentials; neighbours have talked over fences and walls; nurses and carers have held the hands of the dying when their relatives could not. This is a story about generosity – about God providing all that is needed to feed the people. But I also think whenever I read this story in any of its versions that it shows human beings selfishly keeping to themselves what is theirs until Jesus shows them how to share. Generosity breeds generosity.
Let’s hope that when all this is history we keep the generous love and compassion we had for each other in the middle months of 2020 and build our communities upon it. Our humanity has been strengthened and fed at a time when sometimes hope and a future seemed rather bleak.
God bless you all.
Pray for those in the news, for our world, its people and the Church.