Church of England Diocese of Leicester The Gaulby Group

Sermon Sunday 25th July 2021

25 Jul 2021, 8 p.m.

If a week ago I had said…

Barley loaves are brought

Instruction given to share

concern that there wasn’t enough for all the people

loaves shared and all ate

There was some left over

and I had then asked you what is the story?

I am sure that most would have said ‘the feeding of the 5,000’ yet having heard our Old Testament reading this morning there is another possible answer.

How fascinating that Jesus feeding of more than 5,000 is after God has already performed this miracle in the Old Testament although on a smaller scale!

Just as Lazarus is raised from the dead before the resurrection of Jesus.

And in a different way Palm Sunday is foretold in the Old Testament, the ‘finger prints’ of God run all the way through our Bible and still today.

Just as with a composer you might recognise their style even if you don’t know the actual piece you are hearing, so we can see God’s style at work in the world…

God chooses to work with people….

God walks with Adam and Eve, Talks to the prophets, sends out the disciples to heal and bring in the kingdom and speaks with us today.

God uses what we offer – barley loaves brought to Elisha, the oil and flour of the Widow at Zarephath, the picnic of a little boy and whatever little we have is multiplied.

12 apostles, and more followers, become thousands, our small communities grow and reach the children and families of our schools and villages.

It can sometimes feel hard and occasionally I have to admit to being disheartened, but our Gospel reading today has special meaning for me, when I went on Sabbatical 6 years ago I went on an Ignatian retreat where I imagined myself into the story, I did the with many passages over the 8 days of silence but the one I remember is this.

As I entered the story I watched everything happening and as the 12 baskets were left I had a conversation with Jesus, he asked me ‘what will you do now?’ and I said “we will feed those who cannot or will not come”

During lockdown we recorded our collective worship for school and provided ways for the children to engage with the Bible, imagining themselves into the story and we used this story and I was struck by their answers.

To the question ‘what did Jesus say to you?’ most of them answered along the lines of ‘come and have some food’ they imagined themselves into the story, many said they were someone watching, but one child said “I’m a homeless person wandering when I happen to find Jesus giving out food” – I was really moved by that. Somehow the children captured perfectly the generosity and inclusivity of Jesus offer to us, they understood what God is like and expressed it in their answers.

This week perhaps we can challenge ourselves to be part of the story of God, to do something to show what God is like. Amen.