Welcome and Introduction
Welcome to worship at Leeds West Hunslet. This service has been prepared by Majors David and Gill Coates, who are appointed to Homelessness Services in the North East Region. We pray that God will challenge, inspire and bless you as you share in this act of worship and communion with God. Today we will consider how we use the gifts and resources God has given us.
Light in the darkest times
"A light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower." John 1:5
Loving, ever-living and compassionate God,
You understand the pain of loss, the heartache of bereavement, May we hold in our hearts all those whose families or friends have died.
You are a light that shines in the darkest times, Guide us and heal us in our sickness and sorrow.
You comfort us in times of fear, May we comfort each other, even as we keep apart.
You console and lead us in times of doubt and confusion, May we follow the light of your love and spread hope.
You move our hearts to acts of generosity, May we be led to share what we have with those in need.
God of life,
We thank you for the signs of your light in the midst of our darkness, May we be signs of your compassion in the heart of your world.
John 6: 1 -14a The Passion Translation
Jesus Multiplies Food
After this Jesus went to the other side of the Lake of Tiberias, which is also known as Lake Galilee. 2 And a massive crowd of people followed him everywhere. They were attracted by his miracles and the healings they watched him perform. 3 Jesus went up the slope of a hill
and sat down with his disciples. 4 Now it was approaching the time of the Jewish celebration of Passover, and there were many pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem in the crowd.
5 As Jesus sat down, he looked out and saw the massive crowd of people scrambling up the hill, for they wanted to be near him. So he turned to Philip and said, “Where will we buy enough food to feed all these people?” 6 Now Jesus already knew what he was about to do, but he said this to stretch Philip’s faith.
7 Philip answered, “Well, I suppose if we were to give everyone only a snack, it would cost about eight months wages to buy enough food!”
8 But just then, Andrew, Peter’s brother, spoke up and said, 9 “Look! Here’s a young person with five barley loaves and two small fish . . . but how far would that go with this huge crowd?”
10 “Have everyone sit down,” Jesus said to his disciples. So on the vast grassy slope, more than five thousand hungry people sat down. 11 Jesus then took the barley loaves and the fish and gave thanks to God. He then gave it to the disciples to distribute to the people. Miraculously, the food multiplied, with everyone eating as much as they wanted!
12 When everyone was satisfied, Jesus told his disciples, “Now go back and gather up the pieces left over so that nothing will be wasted.” 13 The disciples filled up twelve baskets of fragments, a basket of leftovers for each disciple.
14 All the people were astounded as they saw with their own eyes the incredible miracle Jesus had performed!
International Staff Songsters - 'If...then'
I watched an online programme by Sunderland Millfield YP Band and Singing Company last week. Some of the young people were interviewing each other, and I was interested in the answers to the question “What is the first thing you are going to do after lockdown”?
A common theme emerged; after seeing friends and talking to grandparents, several of them were looking forward to going to Nando's or out for a meal! Wow, that's exactly what I want to do, (well I can't hug my granny because she passed away years ago) but I would love to meet friends and family and eat out, and although I like Nando's, it wouldn't be my first choice! But food is such an important part of our lives, it's often an integral part of our social activities.
There have been a lot of positives during this lockdown; let me show you one of my favourites…
Rachel Gotobed, who many of you will know, has a gift for baking, and she has been making these for donations to Morley Corps Food Bank. I have a sweet tooth and absolutely love these cakes – it has cost me a fortune, I can tell you!
If you think about it, food is normally involved in a lot of activities run by The Salvation Army, with luncheon clubs, coffee mornings, Café Church and so on.
Our Corps at Morley have been prayerfully considering how they could share the Gospel with the people accessing the food bank, and of course it includes all the referrals to your food bank here at West Hunslet as well. They have been adding a Bible verse sticker to every item in the food parcel that goes out in the hope that the recipients would be encouraged. They have also added a copy of the War Cry to the parcel.
You know, Jesus saw the value of food in social occasions. There are many times when he spends time with people around food. At Mary and Martha's house, the wedding in Cana, breakfast on the beach with the Disciples (after his own lockdown!) are just a few examples.
We all know the story of the Feeding of the 5000. We shared the passage from John 6 earlier. We are told that it was late in the day when this event happened; the disciples would have been tired, and so we see the contrast in human reactions coming out when they see the crowds of people.
Philip thinks the task is far too big for them and is all for sending them home.
But Andrew sees it differently. He recognises the difficulty but starts with what they have got – five loaves and two fish, which was not much for such a big crowd, but it was something to start with.
You know there are many things we cannot do at the moment, due to the virus. I work with Chaplains in our Lifehouses, and many of them were worried when they had to stop doing meetings, prayers and other activities. I said to them,
“Don't worry about what you can't, do just concentrate on what you can do.
You can still offer one to one help. You can still send written material.
You can still support staff”.
God can take what we offer and magnify it. Look what He did in the story of the Feeding of the 5000.
There's a verse in Ephesians 3 v 20 which says, He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…
Gill and I have just celebrated 35 years of Officership, and we are so grateful to God for his Grace and strength over these years, but we are also amazed that he has done immeasurably more than we could have ever asked or imagine.
So, my friends, perhaps you feel you have little to offer and cannot do much. I say to you, “Don't worry about what you can't do for the Lord, concentrate on what you can do, and leave the rest to him”. He will do immeasurably more!
International Staff Songsters - 'Compelled by Love' - https://youtu.be/33dtme87U0Q
Prayer and Benediction:
Lord, not much to build on
a picnic lunch
for one young boy who you might think
would have been better off at school
than following a crowd around the countryside.
So easy to ignore a boy, his head below your eyes.
Not old enough
to have opinions of his own,
and much too insignificant to affect the outcome.
Easy to talk over him as they discussed the situation
with all the gravity that comes with age.
Although if wisdom came with beards
we'd honour goats.
Sometimes I think we do
but that's another story.
Yet he's the one, the boy,
whose gift you used
beyond all reasonable expectations.
While they were working out the odds
and figuring the angles
he was opening his hands to give.
It wasn't much
and yet it was enough
to start the feast.
Lord take the little I can give.
At times I hesitate
to offer it at all
my talent seems so small.
But if my loaves and fish can be of use
I offer them with joy.
Please take them,
and in your creative love
transform both them and me.
Eddie Askew – from his book ‘Cross Purposes’ Published by the Leprosy Mission
“Now to him who by his power within us is able to do far more
than we ever dare to ask or imagine—to him be glory in the
Church through Jesus Christ for ever and ever, amen!”
Ephesians 3:20 JBP
Thank you for reading
Written by Dave and Gill C
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