Service of the Word: Sunday 2nd August

Collect

Almighty  God,  your  Son  Jesus  Christ  fed  the  hungry  with  the  bread  of  his  life  and  the  word  of  his  kingdom.  Renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our weakness sustain us by your true and living bread, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Reading

A reading from the holy gospel according to St. Matthew,

Glory to Christ our Saviour

Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious gospel.

Praise to Christ our Lord.

Homily by the Revd Lee Johnston

There’s a feeling that comes before you start any new venture worth doing. A new venture such as learning a new instrument or memorizing a foreign language; or perhaps renovating a house. One feeling will try and stop you in your tracks, telling you it’s better to sit back and do nothing rather than take on such a massive feat. If you’ve ever started a new and demanding project, you will begin by feeling overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed is how the disciples seemed to feel when they, along with Jesus, saw a giant crowd full of hungry, questioning, emotionally vulnerable approaching them for help. They looked at their own resources – a couple of loaves and fishes – and determined that although there may be enough for them, there was certainly not enough for the masses before them. Turn them away Jesus, we have nothing. Let someone else take the responsibility for their needs because we’ll be overwhelmed.

Now, when they say they have nothing to give, Jesus doesn’t say that they’re wrong. His silence on that point seems to agree with their pessimistic assessment. It’s undeniable, their few loaves and fishes, along with their weary complexions, do seem to amount to nothing in the face of the desperate and complex problems of the crowd. But instead of making the crowd someone else’s problem, he invites them to give.

Give what little you have to me, says Jesus. Then, with prayer and sharing, what little they gave became plenty. They give a piece of bread and fish to one person; then another; then another; and somehow the nothing they gave, through prayer and sharing, is enough.

What people who have mastered that new skill or language or DIY project will tell you is that just getting started with what little you have is the most important step. By getting started with the one small part that we can do, we no longer feel overwhelmed. When we prayerfully give what we little we have and just get started on what we can do, Jesus is able and willing to do the rest. He transforms, multiplies, blesses and shares what we have until we have actually met the need presented to us. As a church and as Christians, we are given the same choice when we turn on the news or take a quick scroll through Facebook.

Do we feel overwhelmed and let the problems of the world be someone else’s responsibility, or do we get prayerfully get started and give that which seems like nothing, but through Jesus will become everything that the world needs.

Let us pray for the world, the church and all of those who are in need.

Intercessions

Jesus, living bread, you invite the poor and excluded to your table of mercy, challenging the injustice made by human hands. Bless all of those who run foodbanks, deliver medicine and food to those isolating and all who work for fairness across the world, praying especially for Lanark Helps and Carluke Foodbank.

Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us.

Jesus, living bread, we are united in prayer, in word and in sacraments with all those around the world who are fed by your heavenly grace. Bring ever closer unity within our Anglican communion and with the denominations beyond it, that we may better meet the spiritual and social needs of the world.

Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us.

Jesus, living bread, you never turned away anyone who called on your name in their time of desperation or despair. So we bring to you our needs and the needs of those who have asked for our prayers: Christine, Georgie, Ian, Les, Sam, Olive, Richard, Ros, Chris, Bill, Lorna, Joyce, Louyse, John, Avril, Helga, Karen, Colin, Margaret. May you sustain us with your life giving presence and fill us with peace.

Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us.

Jesus, living bread, those who are fed by you will live forever. As guests at your eternal banquet, we will experience the wholeness we long for. We give thanks that Vera, Mildred, Stuart and Emma now know peace in your house, along with David & Agnes, who’s years mind fall this week.

We commit them and ourselves to you, knowing you accept us and our prayers for the sake of your un-ending love. Amen.