8th Sunday after Trinity August 2nd

Reading, homily and prayers for the 8th Sunday after Trinity

(In a moment of silence ask for God’s grace and blessing)

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Collect for Trinity 8

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. Amen

St Matthew chapter 14 v 13-21

Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.’  Jesus said to them, ‘They need not go away; you give them something to eat.’ They replied, ‘We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.’ And he said, ‘Bring them here to me’. Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

 

A reflection on the words – ‘Then Jesus ordered the crowds to sit on the grass’

For some in the public eye, it’s not easy to find space to be alone.  Jesus had every reason to want to be alone, for he had just heard news that must have affected him deeply. News that John the Baptist had been arrested and beheaded. John had baptised Jesus, it was there at the river Jordan that Jesus’s public ministry had begun. How natural faced with such sad news, to need time for oneself. But the crowds weren’t aware of that need as they followed Jesus into his chosen lonely place, where his compassion goes out to them. His plans change, as the intension of being alone is put to one side, and at the end of a long and demanding day a miracle happens  It seems to me that the greater significance is not how 5,000 souls were fed, but that the Christ who comes to us comes in such a self giving and selfless way. Christ does not simply walk the extra mile, rather his way of being open and used, transforms our understanding of who God is, and what he gives to us.  The miracle is not about food eaten, but lives touched – fulfilled.

Symbolically twelve baskets overflowing, even after every one had eaten, speaks of a nation, a twelve tribe nation, who go away satisfied. Satisfied not just for that moment, but spilling over into the future. Symbolically, a miracle where the one man who is needed, though one, by God’s action touches all. Here is no magic from the skies, rather a small thing, a single life, who enables a big thing to be recognised and shared

Christ is the small thing who himself lays his own needs to one side, to take it up again, on the cross and at the empty tomb, in a way of ample blessing.

 We as a church naturally seek to protect those gifts that are here for us to use. For collectively and individually, we can so easily become too busy, and need that rest which lays responsibilities to one side. But that rest is seldom as it seems.  A miracle happens as the crowd sits on the grass, so too for us, as we become what we already are - one bread, one body

Fr Brian

 

Strengthen for service, Lord the hands that have taken holy things; may the ears that 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. Amen


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