Themed Services

Week 2 - Feeding the 5000.

The feeding of the 5,000 is a most important miracle – perhaps one of the most important in the Bible. It is recorded in all four gospels in detail and it’s a remarkable story of compassion.

It’s a remarkable story of generosity as a small lad offers his lunch to Jesus and sees it miraculously multiplied to feed all those men – all 5,000 of them, and if each brought along his wife and two children it would have been at least 20,000. It a remarkable story of discipline as the disciples sit everybody in groups of 50 or 100 before they are fed. It a remarkable confirmation that it really happened as described, as 12 baskets were filled up with the left-overs afterwards.

Furthermore, the feeding of the 5,000 reminds those readers of the early church as it reminds us today that God uses what we bring even if all we have to offer is 5 loaves and 2 fish. Jesus is always delighted when people around him come up with ideas that show they are thinking of the needs of others. But often what he has to do is to take those ideas and do something startling with them.

If you really care for them, Jesus says to his disciples, why don’t you give them something to eat? Sending them home on a long journey after dark is not an option. So our small ideas of how to care for people get bounced back at us with what seems to be a huge and impossible proposal. You protest – I can’t do it – I haven’t got the time – I haven’t got the energy – I haven’t got the ability – I haven’t …

But that’s the next step. You say it’s impossible but you are prepared to give him the little you’ve got if it will be any good. What precisely Jesus does with what we give him is so mysterious and powerful that it’s hard to describe. Imagine standing there while Jesus surrounded by thousands of people take this pitiful lunch box, hardly enough for two people let alone a crowd, prays over it, breaks it and gives it to one person then another and another.

How does that work in our experience today?  We offer what little we have. Jesus takes our ideas, the equivalent of loaves and fishes. He takes our money, our sense of humour, our time, energy, talents, love, artistic gifts, skill with words, whatever we have to offer, and he holds them before His Father with prayer and then gives them back to us to give to those in need of them.

It’s part of Christian service – that we look on in amazement to see what God has done with the bits and pieces we have dug out of our meagre resources to offer him. So this miracle is all about Compassion, Abundance and Generosity. It is about us, like that small boy, giving what we have, however small it might be. Then Blessed by God and multiplied, returned to us to be used for the good of all.

Revd Mark Wilson

Week 2 - Feeding the 5000

Luke 9:10-

10 On their return the apostles told Jesus[a] all they had done. He took them with him and withdrew privately to a city called Bethsaida. 11 When the crowds found out about it, they followed him; and he welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured.

12 The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place.” 13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 They did so and made them all sit down. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.

Rev’d Tim Wood:

  • Give them something to eat / East Africa disaster
  • Sometimes our challenges can seem impossible
  • Never dismiss the possibility of a miracle

Week 1:              

Matthew Holds a Party
Gospel Reading                                Luke 5. 27-35
After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, (often thought to be Matthew) sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up, left everything, and followed him.

Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting at the table[j] with them. The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Then they said to him, “John’s disciples, like the disciples of the Pharisees, frequently fast and pray, but your disciples eat and drink.” Jesus said to them, “You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”

Rev’d Tim – Holy Communion at Inkpen:

  • Dissatisfaction by some at the do
  • Times they are a changing says Jesus
  • Our faith needs at least as much care as the rest of us. 
  • How do we eat vs how do we nurture our faith
  • Feed on Him in your hearts by faith and with thanksgiving.

LLM Jenny – All Age at Hamstead Marshall:

  • How would you have responded to Jesus’ call?
  • Jesus doesn’t pick and choose and reject people: look around the church – everyone is different, and everyone is welcome at God’s own feast

Time for a Feast: Themed preaching in Walbury Beacon

An experiment in preaching for 2020: during the weeks between Candlemas and Lent, we are using themed readings to coordinate our sermons across the churches in the benefice.  We have a series of readings showing the importance Jesus placed on hospitality and sharing food – with all sorts of different people and in many different circumstances.

These are not continuous passages from the Bible, but within the overall theme, key Gospel concepts are explored weekly in all the readings; we are planning to share the key points we each, individually, pick out for our various preachings in the various different contexts we enjoy in our 6 very different churches.