Church of England Diocese of Bath & Wells Portbury

Sunday 02/08/20

2 Aug 2020, midnight

Click here for Nick's video message

Is 55 v 1-5 Hope nb Thackeray in Vanity Fair a world where every one is striving for what is not worth having
Rm 9 v 1-5 The Jews are still special people regardless = solicitude for Israel. lifestyle> words
Mt 14 v 13-21 feeding of the 5K - A little goes far with Jesus

Reading the OT bit from Isaiah reads like life pre

Covid. Eat drink and be merry. Verse 1 build up your

credit, V2 spend spend and don’t worry about what you

have bought . . V4/5 but then comes hope listening to

God will lead to a new covenant between God and

man. And, you, Israel will be great.

And not even the pandemic has seen a turning to God

on any revivalist scale. The miserable commentators

are still miserable expecting more more and more

handouts and no one is counting the cost of all the

bailouts, well nearly all, I bet the Chancellor has a very

good idea

In all this I am reminded of the quote that became a

signature quote at the beginning of each episode of

Thacheray’s TV series - Vanity Fair - a perceptive and cynical book looking at early 19thc life

among the affluent “a world where every one is striving for what is not worth having.”

In the epistle, St Paul is reflecting the sluggish response of the Jewish people to the Good News

of jesus Christ - Paul would do anything to try to convince them even to saying that he is not a

committed follower of Jesus! If it would but convince them i.e. was Paul a stumbling block for his

fellow Jews?

In the Gospel the situation is that Jesus has heard that His cousin John has been beheaded, He is

saddened particularly as He becomes aware of the barbaric and callous events leading up to it.

Jesus goes off to be quiet and in our Gospel story this morning we are told of Jesus’ reaction to

being told that the crowds who have followed and are now gathered around, are hungry and have

no food. No quick take aways in those days, no ice cream vans - just an empty deserted place.

The disciples solution is to send every one away and the crowd could then find food: and Jesus

and the disciples could continue their quiet time to honour John the baptist.

Jesus has a better idea - keep the crowd and promise them food shared by what ever means is

available. Sounds a bit like a politicians more naive pronouncement! ? ? ?

The rest of the story is well known, everyone sits down and there is enough food for everyone -

about 5k men + the women and the children (doubtless the more sensitive commentators would

have demanded that the women and the children to be numbered with the men?)

Put all this together, and the reality is that not all is perfect in the world. The devil is alive and

kicking - that, in this context, means that God gave us free choices - we are not automatons. So

the devil advises Eve to ignore God’s advice about not eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge

of good and evil; and Eve decides - and Adam joined in just as easily, that only knowing about the

good was a bit dull; wouldn’t it be a bit more exciting to know about the naughty bits as well - well

that is one way of looking at it, so we all got tangled up in the blandishments of the culture of

Thackeray’s quote a world where every one is striving for what is not worth having..

Coming back to Peanuts, he, Peanuts recognises that his life may not be perfect but lets put a

smile on our faces and choose to be happy. It is a continuation of whether the glass is half full or

half empty. Or for those who remember the King and I when Deborah Kerr sings “whistle a happy

tune.” This is not ignoring reality - it is overcoming it = being resilient with the encouragement of

the Holy Spirit.