Sermon for 02 August 2020

Sermon Fred’s Miracle Picnic
Well good morning. My name is Fred. Sometimes I fill in for your regular preacher. I am here because he got one of those Covid tests last week and he hasn’t been able to think straight since. I think they went too deep and maybe affected the brain.
The reason I agreed to come is because I get more likes on the YouTube than he does and I just like to rub it in.
The story today is apparently out of the bible – although for me it’s an old family tale. Lots of people believe in the bible and so do I but when it’s an old family story – you know it’s true. Families always tell the truth about their relatives
I mean the story I was told about my great uncle was that he was moving livestock and supported by the government until the political platform broke and he was caught in a trap. Turns out he hanged for being a horse thief – but pretty much the same.
Anyway this story came down from my great great great etc grampa.
So my distant relative was at a picnic some 2000 years ago in the middle east. There was some speaker and everyone was following this guy around for days. Seems funny as your regular preacher has a hard time keeping them happy for an hour.
The official story in the bible says that there was about 5000 people there. Well in those days only the men were counted – except by my grampa. He always counted the women. He said there was about 5000 women too. And just to be clear he wasn’t too keen on kids being at picnics so he counted them too. He said there was 1111 under the age of 9 kids. And being my grampa he took note that there was 289 single women. But all that aside it was what happened at the event that had him so fascinated.
First thing is that the people were out there for three days without food. Now that may have been common back in those days but here, if people have to go three hours without food they think they are going to die. The bible says that after three days without food, they were hungry. Probably
There was no food trucks or camel walk-throughs. There was nothing. These people were hungry
So the leader guy – Jesus tell his disciples to order food on line. (That’s a fishing joke – fishin line) They go out and find some poor boy with 2 fish and five loaves of bread. In the end they feed everyone with that and have twelve baskets of food left over.
So it doesn’t add up
Some people say it is a miracle. I can explain the left over part. If you were walking around the desert for 3 days with dead fish in your back pack – I bet they would be left over too. Like who is going to eat that?
But the other part has some miracles in it.
First if Jesus was able to feed the people with the amount of food they found in the backpack, then Jesus is a pretty good guy. I mean feeding 12,000 people with 5 loaves and two fish is pretty good.
Although I have seen my aunt do the same. She wanders around the house and says there is nothing to eat and then kin folk show up and suddenly she produces enough food to sink a ship – if we had one. Jesus did like to ride in his friends boats so it’s a good job he didn’t do this miracle in one of the boats cuz he would have sunk it. Anyway I give him credit for pulling that much food out a little boy’s knapsack.
Now I know there are some people who think there is another explanation. They will tell you that Jesus didn’t multiply the food he just got others to contribute theirs.
Well to me that’s just as big a miracle. Have you ever got people to share things. I see a lot of you wearing those masks. Even though I have asked politely, I can never get anyone to share their mask with me. I always promise to return it too. So getting people to share their lunch after three days hungry would be a miracle.
There is another little miracle that isn’t in the bible, – out of those 289 single women my great great grampa got a date. That is remarkable and that’s how I’m here.
But I think the biggest miracle was not the number of people that got fed, but who they were. Jesus didn’t put any limitations, qualifications, restrictions, boundaries, hesitations, imperfections or inadequacies, or decrees or nothing. There was no prejudice, judgements, animosity, bias, bigotry, chauvinism, discrimination, enmity, racism, sexism, xenophobia, ageism, aversion, disgust, dislike, displeasure, narrow-mindedness, judgement, revulsion, jaundice. ( I took a thesaurus course by mail) If you were hungry – you got fed!
Even my great grampa got fed and trust me there would have been a lot of suspicion as to who he was. He probably stood out in that middle east crowd. He was likely the only guy there who spoke English and was wearing bib overalls.
Can you imagine what kind of world it would be if everyone started sharing their stuff without all the limitations, qualifications, restrictions, boundaries, hesitations, imperfections or inadequacies, or decrees or nothing. IF there was no prejudice, judgements, animosity, bias, bigotry, chauvinism, discrimination, enmity, racism, sexism, xenophobia, ageism, aversion, disgust, dislike, displeasure, narrow-mindedness, judgement, revulsion, jaundice.
Everybody would get fed!
You may get tired of hearin that list but I betting God gets tired seeing it in action.
Can you imagine if we stopped asking all the questions and stopped making the poor people fill out all the forms, documents, official papers and red tape, and shared all the wealth we had just cuz others needed it?
People would get houses!
Guess that sounds like I’ve been dipping into the other family secret. You know the one where my grampa said he taught Jesus about changing the water into wine except Grampas recipe used a still.
But I ain’t been dipping into the sauce. I think that Jesus guy – even without my grampa’s help – was alright
Whether the miracle was Jesus feeding or everyone feeding each other; don’t matter. Jesus was onto something that we should pay attention too.
Just look after each other
For those of you who don’t believe in miracles even yet. I’ll prove it to you – next week I will transform myself back to the regular preacher.
God we honour your decisions to make us different. We have different favourite colours, particular songs and different tastes. We have our own circle of friends and we enjoy diverse activities.
You have appeared to us in so many dissimilar ways, through many individuals and texts. We have different skin colour and life-styles yet we are your people.
We all have needs and desires
We all need to be fed and loved
Thankyou for the great variety but help us see past the differences, past the artificial barriers and past the fear to the divine spark that lives in each of us..
We pray now for people who are close to us, We pray for others who especially need pray at this time.
Now we pray in the way Jesus taught us.
Our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed by thy name
Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us
lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil
for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory
forever and ever Amen
Opening Prayer
Hymn – For the Crowd of Thousands VU 355
Scripture Matthew 14:13-21
Lord’s Prayer
Hymn Draw the circle Wide MV 145
Go now in Peace
Go now in peace, Never be afraid
God will go with you, each hour of every day
Go now in faith, steadfast strong and true
Know God will guide you in all you do,
Go now in love and show you believe
Reach out to others so all the world can see
God will be there, watching from above
Go now in peace, in faith and in love
Amen, Amen, Amen