It was wonderful to be joined by 3 sets of visitors today! Lovely to see Fi and Jean and to welcome Rachel, Mark and 3 kids who sought us out having read our website! You all encouraged us and it was lovely to see you.
After enjoying the beauty of our surroundings, in bright sunshine, reflecting on selected verses from Psalm 104, we had time to read and reflect on the account of the feeding of the 5000 in John 6 and Jesus’ following teaching on being the bread of life. There’s something about everything that Jesus said and did that needs to be seen as part of a greater whole – the disciples were constantly being stretched to see beyond the obvious (Jesus providing lunch) and to see the bigger picure – rather like Rolf harris on children’s TV creating his large cartoons and asking ‘Can you see what it is yet?’
We looked at 3 ‘scenes’ from the passage, considering various questions:
Scene 1 “There’s a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But that’s a drop in the bucket for a crowd like this.”
In a world where might is right, Jesus reminds us that the values of the kingdom are the exact opposite. God’s way is for David to defeat Goliath, for faith the size of a mustard seed being enough, of his kingdom acting like yeast in the dough, of the least of this world having God’s favour…What situations overwhelm or paralyse you because the issue seems so big and your input so small? When has a small act of kindness or generosity made a difference to you? What have you done for others lately?
What could you do this week?
Catherine of Sienna: ‘Become the person you were created to be and set the world on fire’ We don’t have to be like anyone else, not powerful, not well-known – we just have to be authentically who we were intended to be. How can you fulfil this calling and make a difference to others?
Scene 2 “Gather the leftovers so nothing is wasted.”
God is a generous God. He doesn’t keep a tally of what we deserve, he wants to do so much more than we can ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3) and just as his word
never returns to him empty (Isaiah 55), nothing goes to waste in our lives.
What have been the lows of the past – recent or otherwise? What has been hard / challenging / disappointing / hurtful?
St Paul said “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. (Romans 12:28)
At the time of challenge, we often don’t see things as we come to see them with the benefit of hindsight (Rolf Harris again!). What can you give thanks for where you see now that a past hurt has been woven into a plan for good for you? Is there anything you need to trust God for with regard to this at present?
Scene 3 “But now here is Bread that truly comes down out of heaven”
Bread broken and given to others is so much more than a matter of lunch! Jesus makes the link at last with sacrifice – his own – for the sake of the world. Jesus
fed a crowd and was nailed to a cross. It’s all about giving. In him alone can we find true fulfilment and in following him we also must take up the cross and deny self – we become the bread broken and shared for others.
Rob Bell said “We need to ask ‘What is God doing and how can I be part of it?’” (Open)
When we pray for those who are needy / struggling, we have to believe that God wants to be at work in their lives, to bring something good out of it – to offer bread…
What might it mean for you to break bread for others?
When we reassembled from our own meditiations we broke bread and shared wine. Finally we took the rest of the bread and threw bits of it into the river over over the bridge in ‘pooh-sticks’ fashion, naming those we were breaking bread for and watching those prayers being carried downstream as surely as they are heard by God…