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Worship, Prayer and Bible Resources

Ordinary 17 - Year B - Liturgical Colour - Green

Opening Verse

Jesus bread of life

Collect Prayer
First Reading:
Second Reading:
Gospel Reading
Post Communion Sentence
Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead:
Intercessions from our Sunday worship

Jesus feeding miracleIntroduction

Where is God when you really need him/her? When there are real issues to deal with, life threatening situations, terrible illness, exam results, a divorce or the loss of a job? Often people turn to prayer on these occasions and seek a way out with the help of a divine genie. Well God can be found in any situation, but God is not a personal magic wand. The way to find God is by each day committing our path and our choices into his care, it is as we do this that we find God is with us along each step of life, no matter what we may encounter along the way. Our souls need food just as much as our bodies, Jesus is the Bread of Life, then answer to our deepest longings. If God seems distant then it is only because you have been away for too long. Take time now and change your life forever.  

Lord Jesus, you feed the poor in your compassionate love,
Sustain us with your words of life and the blessing of your living bread
May our hearts be warmed by your love
that we may share our bread with others. Amen.

Opening Verses of Scripture  Ephesians 3:20

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Collect Prayer for the Day

Almighty Lord and everlasting God, we beseech you to direct, sanctify and govern both our hearts and bodies in the ways of your laws and the works of your commandments; that through your most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. CW

Lord God, your Son left the riches of heaven and became poor for our sake: when we prosper save us from pride, when we are needy save us from despair, that we may trust in you alone; through Jesus Christ our Lord.CW

First Bible Reading  2 Samuel 11:1-15

In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, ‘This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.’ So David sent messengers to fetch her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, ‘I am pregnant.’

So David sent word to Joab, ‘Send me Uriah the Hittite.’ And Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the people fared, and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, ‘Go down to your house, and wash your feet.’ Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. When they told David, ‘Uriah did not go down to his house’, David said to Uriah, ‘You have just come from a journey. Why did you not go down to your house?’ Uriah said to David, ‘The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing.’ Then David said to Uriah, ‘Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back.’ So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day. On the next day, David invited him to eat and drink in his presence and made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.

 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter he wrote, ‘Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die.’ NRSV

Related Reading 2 Kings 4:42-44

A man came bringing food from the first fruits to Elisha, the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, ‘Give it to the people and let them eat.’ But his servant said, ‘How can I set this before a hundred people?’ So he repeated, ‘Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the LORD, “They shall eat and have some left.”’ He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the LORD. NRSV

Second Reading   Ephesians 3:14-21

I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen. NRSV

Gospel Reading  John 6:1-21

Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?’ He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, ‘Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Jesus, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?’ Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.’ So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, ‘This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.’ When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, got into a boat, and started across the lake to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The lake became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land towards which they were going. NRSV

Post Communion Sentence

Strengthen for service, Lord, the hands that have taken holy things; may the ears which have heard your word be deaf to clamour and dispute; may the tongues which have sung your praise be free from deceit; may the eyes which have seen the tokens of your love shine with the light of hope; and may the bodies which have been fed with your body be refreshed with the fullness of your life; glory to you for ever. CW


For the past few weeks we have been reading Mark, now the lectionary takes us into John. In his gospel, John narrates seven miraculous acts by Jesus and he names them--"signs." He sees these signs as a special revelation about Jesus and in each, the believer is brought close to the all powerful and resurrected Lord. We not only witness a miraculous deed performed by Jesus, but through the sign we are invited to step closer for a more thorough reflection on what it says about Jesus. The signs John narrates help those with eyes of faith to see and to believe in Jesus in the ways each sign reveals him to us. Remember what John said towards the end of his Gospel. He states his purpose for writing quite clearly, "Jesus performed many other signs as well, signs not recorded here, in the presence of his disciples. But these have been recorded to help you believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, so that through this faith, you may have life in his name" (20: 30-31).

We now focus on one of these signs so that in "seeing" it we might grow in faith. Today we have the sign of the multiplication, this is intended to lead us to reflect upon Jesus as the Bread of Life sent down from God.

A large crowd has sought Jesus out. Unlike the Synoptic gospels, John doesn't say that Jesus expresses pity for the hungry crowd or that they are like lost sheep without a shepherd. Instead, Jesus opens with a question to Philip about where "we" will get enough food for the approaching crowd. John tells us quite plainly, Jesus is "testing" his disciples. The story has us focus on how the disciples will respond to this test and what Jesus' own response will be.

The disciples evaluate their meagre resources and what will be required of them and then express incredulity, "how are we going to feed them?" They are not blind or indifferent to the needs around and they seem to want to address them, but just can't figure out how they will do it. It is just too much for them.

Jesus is also looking at the same hunger and he takes charge. The problem for Jesus was that in his compassion he reached out to help people in their needs: he healed them and gave them food and drink, but he always did these things as a sign of something greater, something higher to which he was calling people. More often than not, people missed the higher message, they just wanted to have their physical needs satisfied in the easiest possible way. They tended to seek him out as a magical healer and not hear the call to expansion and growth that he was making to them. Making him king would be a shortcut in solving many problems.

This same tendency exists today in all religious people, and in our practice of prayer. Jesus encourages us to pray for daily bread, but for no more, our requests to God in prayer for physical comforts must be limited to that which is at the most basic. Only when we do this will we ever discover the meaning of real wealth and happiness. Charles Royden


Please note that in the passage today, after speaking about Moses (5.45-47) Jesus goes on to peform a sign that might be expected of a new Moses, another prophet - providing manna (Deut 18:15).

The fact that this was Passover is important, this is in the contxt of a new passover meal.

To feed the crowds would cost in food the equivalent of 200 days wages.

The Barley loaves are reminiscent of Elisha (2 Kings 4:42-44), where Elisha also multiplies loaves. Elisha faced the same scepticism from his followers as Jesus did.

John mentions 5,000 men, this is not a generic term meaning people. This is men. The ral crows would have been perhaps four times that number with women and children. This was a crowd of huge proportions.


  1. Let all the world in every corner sing (Luckington)
  2. I heard the voice of Jesus say (Kingsfold)
  3. Jesus is Lord, creation’s voice proclaims it (Jesus is Lord)
  4. When we walk with the Lord (Trust and obey)
  5. Onward Christian soldiers (St Gertrude)
  6. Praise to the Lord the almighty the king
  7. He’s got the whole world in his hands.
  8. May the mind of Christ my Saviour
  9. Great is thy faithfulness

Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

Prayer encouragement in the Christian life

Prayer is a plant, the seed of which is sown in the heart of every Christian, if it is well cultivated and nourished it will produce fruit, but if it is neglected, it will wither and die.,

Agape Love

Lord, your love is agapē love
Real, unconditional and full of grace.
Help us to weave this golden thread of love into the tapestry of our lives. That we may truly give to one another, in respect, kindness and gentleness. That we may be quick to forgive, ready to hope, and filled with your joy.
May we reflect all these many colours of your kingdom.

Lord, help us to complement each other, to support one another and to bring out the best in each other.

Your love is agapē love,
Come weave this love into our lives. Amen.

Prayer for the day of Mary Magdalene 22 July

Faithful friend of Jesus, apostle to the apostles, misunderstood and wrongly accused. Guide us now o God, as with Mary Magdalene, we tread new paths in our passionate love for Christ. May we ambassadors of the good news to your Church and let your people rejoice in the leadership of women. (Nikki Archy, Women and the Church)

Blessing for a hard time.

Go in peace and faith. If you are tired, may you find rest, if you are anxious, may you find peace, if you are lonely may you find friends and if you are dying may you find new life. Know that nothing can separate you from the love of God in Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, the Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body, and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may henceforth be all of one heart, and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God you have poured the Spirit of your Son into our hearts so that we call you Father. Give us grace to devote our freedom to your service that we may be brought into the glorious liberty of the children. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever.


Additional Material


We move this week into the Gospel of John and look at one of ‘signs’ which John tells us about. These are miraculous events, but they are much more than that they are intended to lead us deeper than the mere surface events themselves.

Today we have the feeding of the multitude, a grand miracle and the only one recorded by all of the Gospels, a fact that speaks loudly of its importance to the early church.

Note - The Feeding of the Five Thousand is recorded in Mark 6:35-44, Luke 9:12-17, and John 6:1-14. 
The Feeding of the Four Thousand is recorded in Matthew 15:32-39 and Mark 8:1-10.

These feedings are reminiscent of Elisha's feeding miracle in 2 Kings 4:42-44. In that story, Elisha had only twenty barley loaves to feed a hundred people. When he ordered his servant to distribute the bread, the servant protested, "How can I set this before a hundred people?" Elisha reaffirmed the order, promising, "They shall eat and have some left." The servant distributed the bread; the people ate -- and there was bread left over in accord with the promise. The linkage between the stories is made even tighter by the reference to barley loaves in John 6:9. It is worth noting that both Elisha and Jesus involved others (Elisha's servant and Jesus' disciples) in the accomplishment of their miracles.

These feedings are also reminiscent of the manna in the wilderness (Exod 16; Num 11). Like Moses, Jesus has crossed over the water to the wilderness. Like Moses, he is surrounded by hungry people. Matthew clearly intends to portray Jesus as parallel to Moses, yet surpassing him as the bringer of a new age. Jesus makes this connection even more explicit when he refers to manna in his Bread from Heaven discourse following the feeding of the five thousand in John's Gospel.

Jesus in the miracles, and the Gospel writers in reporting them, want us to see something deeper about who Jesus really is. We not only witness a miraculous deed performed by Jesus, but through the ‘sign’ we are invited to step closer for a more thorough reflection on what it says about Jesus. The signs John narrates help those with eyes of faith to see and to believe in Jesus. Remember what John said towards the end of his gospel. He states his purpose for writing quite clearly,

"Jesus performed many other signs as well, signs not recorded here, in the presence of his disciples. But these have been recorded to help you believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, so that through this faith, you may have life in his name" (20: 30-31).

For some preachers the question of whether Jesus actually performed the miracle at all has been quite significant. Was it ‘just’ that Jesus taught them all to share?

I have to say that I think that such a reasoning does not fit with what we are told today by John. Whether the story happened as presented is not the issue for John, it was rather that people saw the miracle and failed to look at the meaning.

Look at what we read in this story and we can see that John leaves us in no doubt that miracles were taking place a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick

After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself

The crowd were under no illusion that Jesus had multiplied the food. They just jumped to the conclusion that this meant Jesus would make a better king than the Romans. The people liked the idea of a miracle worker, they were less inclined to look for the deeper spiritual meaning. Neither the crowd, nor the Gospel writers who reported the events thought that Jesus had given a lesson in sharing. Make no mistake, to imagine that this was a triumphant lesson in generosity misses the whole impact of the reports which the Gospel writers deliver to us.

Miraculous physical events demonstrated amazing spiritual truths, take away the miracle and the sign is diminished.

So it was that -

  • The raising of the dead Lazarus therefore was a physical event with a message that Jesus was the way the truth and the life.
  • The healing of the blind man shows Jesus as the light of the World
  • Turning water into wine showed Jesus as the true vine

If we turn the feeding miracle into a sharing miracle, then the next stage is to question whether Lazarus was truly dead. To start removing all the miracle from the stories from the Gospels leaves us on shaky ground. I cannot believe that the writers of the Gospel who recorded these miracles had anything other than absolute confidence that they had happened as they reported. That’s why they were prepared to live and die for their faith.

The problem for Jesus as we see in our stories was not persuading people about the veracity of his miracles, but in getting them to see past the miracles to the deeper meaning.

In compassion he reached out to help people in their needs: he healed them and gave them food and drink, but he always did these things as a sign of something greater, something higher to which he was calling people. More often than not, people missed the higher message. They just wanted to have their needs satisfied in the easiest possible way. They tended to seek him out as a magical healer and not hear the spiritual truth that he was making to them.

These people hadn’t shared their lunch, they had been amazed at what Jesus did and wanted to make him king so that he would give them a better deal than the Romans.

Making him a physical king would be a shortcut to solving their problems. There is a lesson here for us all, as we might have the same tendency in our practice of prayer. Jesus encourages us to pray for daily bread, but for no more, our requests to God in prayer for physical comforts must be limited to that which is at the most basic. Only when we do this will we ever discover the meaning of real wealth and happiness.

So to the story

Perhaps a good way to look at the event is to do so through three of the key players and we begin with Philip 

1. Philip

A large crowd has sought Jesus out. John shows Jesus open with a question to Philip about where "we" will get enough food for the approaching crowd. John tells us quite plainly, Jesus is "testing" his disciples. The story has us focus on how the disciples will respond to this test and what Jesus' own response will be.

Philip answered him,

“Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

He couldn’t do the miraculous because he focused on what he didn’t have – not what he did have. There is a thin line between humility and negativity. One is based on strength and can be very powerful; the other is based in fear and results in powerlessness. Philip seemed trapped behind a wall of hesitation. When confronted with a task of impossible proportions he tells the Lord all he can’t do and never once thinks to ask Jesus what he can do. Philip is walled behind a facade of helplessness that Jesus must ‘pierce’ before Philip can become the man Christ knows him to be. Christ must pierce Philip’s doubt, his sense of inadequacy; his blaming and excusing or Philip would never become a man of consequence.

So we have to ask the question of ourselves -

How do I respond to the size of the needs around me? Am I like Philip? Do I look at how little I have, or do I think how much God has?

Do I say; “The problem is too big for my limited resources,” and then hope that the crowd goes away? Or do I ask for God’s strength to help me to expect great things from God.

2. Think of Andrew

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up,

“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

Andrew evaluate the meagre resources and what will be required of them and then express incredulity, "how are we going to feed them?" He is not blind or indifferent to the needs around and wants to address them, however he cannot see the miraculous provision of God because the answer came in the faith of a child.

This is cynicism and we all have a tendency to do it. We decry the attempts of others, we criticise those who try to do things, but have no better offer from ourselves. We must not spend our time negatively focussing on what we think is less than perfect or what we do not have, but instead embrace what there is which is honest and pure and put it to work for his glory.

3. The little boy

Thankfully there was a little boy who who wouldn’t be pushed aside by Andrew and focused solely on giving what little he had to Jesus.

This is all that the Gospels have to say about this boy (Matthew Mark and Luke don't even mention him). The boy is an unlikely candidate to save the day, just as the shepherd-boy, David, was an unlikely opponent for Goliath many years earlier. His pitiful offering is as inadequate as was David's sling. The boy has little to offer, but he offers that little bit.

It is the same message as the widow’s mite. We do not disparage the efforts of those around, we expect that even a tiny offering made to God can be put to great effect.

The message is that Jesus will transform that little bit into more-than-enough.

But, what if the boy were unwilling to share his lunch? What if he were to say, "I need this for myself" -- or "My little bit won't make any difference"? "In the parable of the talents Jesus makes it plain that... it is the one-talent people who are most likely to falter and fail him; and this on the ground that anything they could do is so trivial as to be not worth doing.... That, says Christ, is a fallacy that has disastrous consequences.

"There would have been one great and shining deed fewer in history if that boy had refused to come or if he had withheld his loaves and fishes. The fact of life is that Jesus Christ needs what we can bring Him. We may not have much to bring but He needs what we have".


We are called to an impossible task as well. The challenge to us is whether we turn to our own resources and excuse our inabilities or are faithful enough to say; “Lord, what is impossible for me is easy for you! So, where do you want me to start?” Jesus can take the smallest gift from a sincere heart and use it to do the impossible.

As individuals

The disciples were tested, but we are tested too. We face the many needs of family, friends, church, world and perhaps we too like Philip feel overwhelmed. How shall we feed them is perhaps a cry which many echo. In all sorts of ways we perhaps recognise that we do not have enough bread. Doing the work, living the life which God has set before us may seem hard. But we, like the disciples, need to believe in One who walks with us. The answer from our story today is that we don't have to do it on our own; Jesus is with us and he knows how to make our resources become enough. 

As a church

The miracle asks the church the question,

Do you believe God will provide what you need to do the ministry God wants done?

Why do you believe this, have you anything from previous experience?

Note the essential qualifiers --

  • what we need, not want,
  • and the ministry God wants, not necessarily the ministry we’ve planned.

Do we operate mindful of the scarcity of our own resources or the abundance of God.

Charles Royden


The letter to the Ephesians has rightly be called the “queen of the epistles” (ST Coleridge) because it is a marvellously concise yet comprehensive guide to Christian faith and practise. Although the letter declares itself to be by the apostle Paul, scholars from the early nineteenth century onwards pointed out that the vocabulary and style of the epistle was not the same as other epistles from Paul. Although the evidence that they produce to support this theory is strong, does it matter? Could it not be that some other brilliant writer took Paul’s words and précised them at a later date, rather than copy down every word from Paul’s letter? The theology of the letter is exactly in line with Paul’s teachings.

Ephesus was a former Greek colony. By Paul’s time it was the capital if the Roman province of Asia. As a port, Ephesus was a meeting place for many cultures and religions. It even contained one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the great temple of Artemis (Diana). Paul had visited there and caused a great upset to the cult of Diana which had a valuable trade in selling little silver models of the temple. Paul was thus addressing a church planted right in the heart of a powerful pagan culture. The excerpt from his letter, which we read this morning, deals with a concept which is powerful and central to the Christian faith. Put simply it is this: God is not in a building, a Temple, whether the Great Temple of Solomon or any other, He is not far away in Heaven, He is close to us, closer than close, in the souls of those who believe in Him. This great promise comes through the love of the Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The reading is in the form of a prayer for the faith of the people of Ephesus to be deepened. The miracle of love has made Christ dwell in their hearts, it is for them to try to understand the implications of this “indwelling”. By accepting Christ into their lives, at their conversion, they had allowed Him to enter into their hearts and minds. But what does that mean? By turning back to the original Greek used by Paul we get a clearer picture of what he was trying to say in this phrase of God dwelling within them. There were two similar Greek verbs paroikeo and katoikeo that he could have chosen to express the concept. The first paroikeo means merely to inhabit a place as a stranger. He chose to use the second word, Katoikeo which means to settle permanently. What Paul was insisting was that God was not a fleeting visitor in the soul of the believer, a presence which would fade away, but a permanent resident, a faithful and abiding presence in the lives of those who had welcomed him. What difference does such an idea make to our idea of God’s relationship with us? If God dwells within us, why sometimes do we feel so far from Him? What can we do to keep that miraculous closeness of God a living reality in our spiritual lives? 


Feeding of Multitudes
Given that feeding many people form scarce resources is an incredible happening its not surprising that we have multiple accounts of this type of events, including the one from 2 Kings. The verses that precede our reading from 2 Kings record that 'there was a famine in that region' and that under Elisha the people had tried to cook something for themselves from herbs and wild vegetation with near disastrous results. In the reading from John, a great number of people had followed Jesus as a result of the miracles he was performing. They were hungry for His teaching and the new life that it offered. In one sense we could also say that 'there was a famine in that region'. The people had tried to cook up something for themselves and had failed. Jesus teases the disciples and asks where will all the food come from to feed the people sitting in front of them. To which they reply with the equivalent of, '…a whole truck load of food from Tesco's or Sainsbury's wouldn't feed this lot... … all we've got between us is a small rice and pasta salad and a diet yoghurt'. It's perhaps easy then to interpret these passages as an indication of God providing for our material needs. When all seems lost we need to trust to Him for our provision. What we have to offer is so meagre in comparison to the riches he offers, and so freely gives out of the abundance of his riches in glory. And there is a sense in which this interpretation is true. We all know of occasions where God has indeed provided for His people in a very real, physical manner, perhaps through gifts of money through faithful Christians or in many other ways. Our partnership buildings are testimony to God's provision to us, through His grace and the hard work and efforts of many of His people working in tandem with Him. God does provide for us, but perhaps the key to these passages is to see that we need to understand that God's provision for us is both physical and spiritual. The gospel writer John, of all the gospel writers, especially weaves this theme into His writings several times. Think of the wedding at Cana, the Master of Ceremonies did not know from where the good wine had come. The woman at the well in Samaria did not know from where the living water would come. In the gospel reading from John, Philip does not know where on earth he's going to find the food for the many thousands of people who are gathered on the hillside and who want feeding. But in each of these situations the pattern is the same. And so is the result. At Cana, at Samaria and now here on the hillside, all that the people have, the stuff of their everyday life, is taken and offered to God. Water, the woman's humanity, bread, and fish are all given thanks for, and offered up to God, to be received by Him and exposed to His touch. He is not constrained by the physical rules of nature, He can even walk on water. But in being exposed to Him, everything, even nature itself, is transformed into something more than anyone ever expected. Just as the more we expose ourselves and all that we have to Him, there more we, and it, is transformed into something beyond even our wildest dreams.



A holy man on a pilgrimage was resting beneath a tree at the outskirts of a city. He was interrupted by a man who ran to him, saying, "The stone! Give me the stone! Please, give me the stone."
"What stone?" asked the holy man. Then the man told how an angel had appeared to him in a dream and told him that he would find a holy man, a pilgrim just outside the city who would give him a stone and make him rich forever. The holy man reached into his pocket and pulled out a great diamond. "The angel probably spoke of this, " he said. "I found it on my journey here. If you truly want it, you may have it."
The diamond was as big as his fist and perfect in every way. The man marvelled at its beauty, clutched it eagerly and walked away from the pilgrim. But, that night he could not sleep, before it was light, he went out to find the holy man. At dawn he woke the holy pilgrim, saying, "Wealth! Give me the wealth! Please, give me the wealth that lets you so easily give away the diamond."



Almighty God, in all the business of life, help us to be still in your presence, that we may know ourselves to be your people and you to be our God. Amen

Heavenly Father, you taught us by your Son Jesus Christ that all our possessions come from you. Help us to be faithful stewards of our time, our talents and our wealth, and to consecrate gladly to your service a due proportion of all that you have given us. Take us and make us your own, for Jesus Christ sake. Amen

Almighty God, as we stand at the foot of the cross of your Son, help us to see and know your love for us, so that in humility, love and joy we may place at His feet all that we have and all that we are and all that we will be, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

May our Lord Jesus Christ be near us to defend us, within us to refresh us, around us to preserve us, before us to guide us, and above us to bless us; with the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with us now, in the week ahead, and for ever. Amen