Sunday Reflection 2.8.20

Sunday Morning Reflection   2.8.20   

Good Morning , I am Karen Harbison, the Minister of Westburn Parish Church , Greenock and I am glad to welcome you  to this time of worship. Everyone is welcome, whether you are often at Westburn Parish Church, or whether you have never been there in person before. Everyone is welcome as we, each in our own places, our own homes, come to worship God.

Do you like going for a picnic …. at the park , or the beach, on a hill walk , on a day trip? What sorts of things do you like to include in your picnic ….. sandwiches, fruit, salads, crisps, cake, flask of tea? Or perhaps you take a portable bbq and enjoy cooking sausages. I’ve heard a lot of stories from people  in this area about days at Lunderston Bay which included food being prepared on primus stoves. In more recent days during lockdown our picnics are more likely to have been in our gardens or in the last few weeks perhaps in the gardens of family or friends as a few folk are able to meet up.

Today we are thinking about the  story of the feeding of the 5000….. it didn’t start out as a picnic but perhaps ended up feeling like one

Today we are worshipping in all our different places but we take time to think about family and friends and those we meet at worship. We are not alone even though we are apart.

Opening words

Remembering when we could gather as a congregation,  we worship now in our own homes. Remembering how Jesus drew the crowds,  we worship knowing he draws us together still

Remembering how Christ fed the hungry,  we worship now receiving  food for the soul,

each solitary one of us a part of that glorious noisy throng.

Let us worship God  –

Let us pray

God of miracle and God of everyday, may we see you now: healing, feeding, teaching, serving, through ordinary people, whom you call to be your body in the world today. We thank you that you reveal your love in those around us, and that you even enable us to step up to be Christ for one another.

Lord, forgive us for the times we cannot be bothered, the times we look to our own comfort first, and forget that your command is to love one another. Forgive us and help us to do better. God, in Jesus you gave us a perfect example. May we keep on learning from him, and may we become imitators of him, until we too are sought out by others, as people of peace and of love ,in Jesus’ name we pray and we pray together as he taught

Our Father who art in heaven

hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts

as we forgive our debtors.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil

for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory

Now and forever


We continue reading from Matthew’s gospel  and we hear the story of the feeding of the 5000.Just before this Jesus had heard news of the death of John the Baptist and had gone to spend some time alone. The crowds followed him and rather than feeling annoyed with them , he was filled with compassion for them.

So let us hear the Word of God

Today   will read for us.

Bible Reading – Matthew 14: 13 – 21


After a series of parables about the Kingdom of Heaven, here we have an enacted parable. The Kingdom priority towards the sick, the poor, and the hungry is made real as Jesus first heals those amongst the crowd who are unwell and then overrules the request of the disciples, as dusk falls, to send the crowd away, instead commanding his disciples to give them something to eat. The commissioning of the disciples to enter into co-ministry with Jesus is given a dramatic push in this story. They cannot feed the multitude without Jesus’ action amongst them, but Jesus also draws them into that action. They provide the initial food of five loaves and two fish, and then they go out to share the food with the crowd after Jesus has blessed it.

Coming to Jesus with their needs and their concerns for their neighbours, coming to Jesus with their faith and their doubts,giving to Jesus what they had to offer from themselves and from the generosity of others, trusting Jesus was with them and for them and would not abandon them, joining in with Jesus in offering prayers of thanks and blessing, serving and sharing as Jesus called them to do…. That was the way of living that the disciples were involved in and growing into in new ways every day. And so all the people were fed and nourished. The crowd experienced and learned more than they could ever have imagined when they had left their homes in search of Jesus earlier that day.

Out on the hillside, the most humble of basic foods is shared amongst the crowd in an atmosphere of joyous thankfulness: the hungry are fed, the sick are cured, and the Kingdom of Heaven which Jesus had been telling so many stories about, becomes real for these people in that time and place.

Although we are not part of a large crowd gathered outside today, although any picnic we might have will only be shared with a few people, the way of living that the disciples were involved in that day is a way of living we too are called to be part of , to take part in and to grow into in new ways every day.

May we come to Jesus with our needs and our concerns for our neighbours, may we  come to Jesus with our faith and our doubts, may we give to Jesus what we have to offer from ourselves and from the generosity of others, trusting Jesus is with us and for us and will not abandon us, joining in with Jesus in offering prayers of thanks and blessing, serving and sharing as Jesus calls us to do…. So that God’s kingdom may come. Amen

Let us pray

God, when we are frightened, give us courage; when we are disturbed, bring us calm; when we sit in darkness, show us the beginnings of dawn; when we want to retreat and be quiet, nudge us back to bring life to others; when we are tempted to hoard what we have, open our hands to share. God, again and again remind us that we have power: power to heal the earth and its people. May we use that power in love and service as Christ showed us. Lord, surprise us with glimpses of you at work around us, making all things new. May we yearn to be a part of that, working alongside you, to heal creation with you, God of the universe

God , we pray for those who are hungry here and across the world, those for whom Covid 19 has made their situation even more fragile, we pray for those who are working in foodbanks and refugee camps trying to make sure that food is shared and people are fed, we pray for those who are anxious about leaving their homes and starting to meet people again and those whose mental health has been badly affected by having to be at home for so long, we pray for those who are ill and those who are grieving and in quietness we bring our own concerns to you

God, may those for whom we pray know your presence and our love. Amen.

Why not plan a simple  picnic this week. Take some time to enjoy a meal outdoors… bring out a deckchair or picnic rug, buy or make a special treat…. enjoy time with friends, with family, or in the solitude of your own company… and during that picnic  take a  moment to  think of the picnic Jesus shared with others in the story from our text.

Hymn 505 – All that I am


All that you have

All that you are

Bring to God in worship and in service

And may the blessing of God , the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with you today and always


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