We had worship on Zoom this morning, for those not able to join us, please find the worship service below.
John 6:1-14 March 22, 2020
Zoom Worship during Corona Virus Quarantine
9:30 gathering time
10:00 Zoom worship
Welcome and Announcements
Welcome to a “season of being together while apart” as we learn how to Do and Be the Church in this time.
*We are having Bible Study via zoom on Monday nights at 7:00 and a “check in” meeting for anyone interested on Wednesday nights at 7:00. The information for both of those meetings is on the church website and in the weekly mailchimp. You will see a “meeting id”, to access, you go to zoom.us and then simply type in the meeting id and you can join.
If you have a question about this, please email or call me on Monday and we will figure it out together!
*Please also email me any comments or suggestions for improving this worship experience, I welcome your ideas! What works, what doesn’t, what you would like to experience.
If you have a candle, let us light our candles together to remind ourselves that there is light in the darkness and that we can share that light with one another in our own times of darkness and we can share that light of love with the world.
Please light your candles if you have one as we enter into our time of worship.
Let us pray: We come to this place to be fed by God’s word, to be nurtured by God’s grace, and to be strengthened by the power of God’s Spirit.
Speak to us in this time of Worship, O God, that we might recognize the abundance of your goodness, and find in your presence things that sustain us. Amen.
Call to Worship
Voice 1: Will there be enough?
Voice 2: Enough food to fill us up?
Voice 3: Enough time to worship?
Voice 1: Enough room to include us all?
Voice 2: Enough money to pay the bills?
Voice 3: Enough love to love me too?
Voice 2: Enough faith to be me through?
Voice 1: Will there be enough?
TOGETHER: With God there is always enough!
Voice 2: More than enough!
Voice 1: Unlock your hearts, open your spirits, unfold your hands!
Voice 3: There is enough to give and enough to receive!
Voice 2: More than enough!
TOGETHER: With God there is always enough!
Voice 2: More than enough!
TOGETHER: There is an abundance! Thanks be to God!
Listen to the good news, God is with us, this day and every day.
BECAUSE GOD IS WITH US, WE CAN FACE EACH DAY WITH COURAGE.
WE CAN FIND SOME GOOD IN EVERYTHING, FOR WE ARE NEVER COMPLETELY ALONE.
God’s goodness sometimes seems to be a trickle,
sometimes pulsing spurts, and sometimes a mighty flood.
But always God is with us.
And so we pray together:
WE WORSHIP YOU, O GOD, FOR YOUR STEADFAST PRESENCE.
WE PRAISE YOU WITH OUR SONGS.
WE SEEK YOU IN OUR PRAYERS.
WE LISTEN IN OUR SILENCE.
AND WE OFFER OURSELVES AS YOUR SERVANTS TO THE WORLD.
Prayer of Confession (unison) (adapted from Mary Rose de Lisle)
O God, when everything fills me with fear and apprehension, and even the smallest commitment becomes a huge ordeal in my eyes,
I cannot see any hope or purpose in my life.
Teach me to go on praying, though my faith seems lost and there is no apparent response. Give me the strength to face one day at a time, and to know that somehow, you will carry me through.
Do not let me become so obsessed with myself that
I fail to respond to the needs of others.
As I echo the words of Jesus, “Let this cup pass from me.”
Let me like him, accept your will and give me a little of his courage.
Words of Assurance
God, who is able to accomplish far more than all we can ask or imagine,
forgives us all our sins, and empowers us to begin anew.
Thanks be to God! Amen.
A Scripture Reading
John 6:1-14 New International Version (NIV)
6 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near.
5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
There were crowds everywhere Jesus went. But this day was different. This day was noteworthy. This was surprising even for those who were with him every day, and amazing, and worth remembering. And I don’t think people then were more gullible than we are. I think something extraordinary happened.
The disciples had no idea how to feed the crowds and frankly, didn’t think that it was their responsibility. The Disciple Phillip spoke for all of the disciples when he talked about the cost in trying to feed the whole crowd. He was being realistic, after all, conserving resources, they didn’t have a lot of money – any of them. The disciples saw themselves as responsible only for their immediate circle – their own small community, they did not see themselves as responsible for caring for this whole crowd. They – the disciples – had an ordinary response – a thinking ‘small’ response – a response based in fear and scarcity.
But then there is the boy, the only one who actually seems to have some food with him and that detail is ONLY in the Gospel of John.
“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.”
As a sidebar, don’t you love that little detail that is included in the scripture “Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down” . There was a great deal of grass – an idyllic setting for a picnic, in the countryside, no, not a picnic, an idyllic grassy hillside for a miracle. I’m always curious about the details that are included – or excluded from a story!
I digress, back to the boy who had the food – he must have given all of his food to Jesus – now that in itself is an act of faith. He gave all that he had to Jesus. And by turning over all that he had – to be blessed and used by Jesus – a miracle of abundance happened. More than the boy himself could have ever asked for or imagined. More than the disciples could imagine.
You see, where we often see scarcity, Jesus sees possibility and abundance. Where we want to hold on tight to what we have, Jesus wants us to offer our gifts that they may be blessed. Where we see the ordinary, Jesus sees the extraordinary. Where we often hold back in fear, Jesus offers a way through faith. Where we see a small circle of people, Jesus pushes the boundaries to include and redefine community.
Where we often see scarcity, Jesus sees possibility and abundance.
I often feel overwhelmed by the problems of the world. And right now, I think that most of us are holding our breath, fearfully watching and waiting for what will happen next. Will there be food in the grocery stores? Or apparently the bigger question for some is Will there be toilet paper? Will my household have enough to survive this pandemic? Will there be enough hospital beds? Will I get sick? Or someone I love? How long will we be quarantined?
And yet, what would happen if we trusted in the power of God to multiply in amazing ways the resources we have, and what would happen if we saw this as a communal question, not simply a personal one?
What if we looked around and saw the extravagant generosity with which God has provided an abundance for us all, and marveled at this great wonder?
There is more than enough when we offer what we have together for Jesus to bless and use, then more than enough for everyone when we expand our understanding of community and abundance and faith.
What if, in this overwhelming time – this time of pandemic and fear – what it we trusted in the power of God to multiply in amazing ways the resources that we have? Because that is already happening!
Have you seen the response to DHMC’s call for supplies?
When there were no gloves or masks to be bought, people started dropping them at the hospital.
Will we be defined by scarcity or abundance?
And now people are making masks.
Will we live in Fear or faith?
Have you see the response to the Hartland List Servesurvey?
There are a huge number of people offering to help, to share, to shop, to drop off food. Expanding the boundaries of community.
Will we act out of Selfishness or generosity?
“there is a boy who has gifts to offer” and Jesus just says, “Bring them to me.” And he tells the crowd to sit down. And taking the loaves and fish, He held them up to heaven and blessed the loaves, and broke them and gave them to the disciples to feed the crowd, who ate and were filled.
It wasn’t magic bread, although bread was necessary.
It wasn’t magic words, although there’s power in words of blessings.
As I have said before never never underestimate the power of prayer.
The story of the feeding of the 5,000 is a story for our time, this extraordinary time that calls for extraordinary faith. This is a story of the way God in Christ works though ordinary means to make an extraordinary difference. It is God’s grace and power that make the difference. This is a story of abundance and possibility. Of turning over all that we have to offer – how? By holding our gifts in prayer and seeking God’s way in our lives, by responding to the Holy in our daily living, by offering ourselves with generosity and compassion in the service of others, by living as a person who forgives and loves. And so we too, can take what we see as scarce gifts and in the blessing of Jesus, find possibility and abundance.
ONE SMALL BOY – Joseph P. Donders.
of the miracle
of the bread and the fish
is about what happened
who gave all he had.
It is, of course, a story about Jesus
multiplying all that bread and that fish.
whose bread did he multiply?
Whose fish did he divide?
It all started
with a real hero
of that story:
one small boy. . .
I think that Jesus
praised that small boy
who had given all he had . . .
When you are asked for something
you think you are unable to give,
think of that small boy
of this story,
and think of the twelve baskets
full of food given to him
because he gave
all he had.
In the greatest of Hope, thanks be to God. Amen.
-Susanna Greifen sermon
-UCC.org sermon seeds
– Imagining the Word (poem source)
A period of Silence
The Prayers of the People
Sharing our Joys and Concerns (via chat)
Pastoral Prayer & The Lord’s Prayer
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 trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
for thine is the kingdom and power and glory forever and ever Amen.
And now before our benediction, I want to share one more poem with you –
Sometimes we need something a little light
by Maren Tirabassi
John wrote later and forgot some of the details
Well remembered is the young boy
with his small lunch
who found his way to Andrew,
who brought him to Jesus,
when they were far
from the nearest dwelling.
Jesus sat the crowd on the ground
and fed them generously
both bread and fish.
John’s account missed
how later, full and ready to listen,
collecting all the leftovers
the crowd seemed twitchy.
It was an older woman
who came to Andrew and said,
“see if the teacher
can do anything with this.”
And she handed him
one roll of toilet paper.
as we prepare for the benediction:
Engage a Ritual to connect without touching:
To create a virtual circle – put out your right hand, palm up and your left hand, palm down. Ponder the space for grace there, the room for the Spirit among us.
“Go out into the world in peace.
Welcome the stranger.
Hold onto what is good.
Return no one evil for evil.
Strengthen the faint-hearted.
Support the weak.
Help the suffering.
Honor all persons.
Honor all creation.
Love and serve the Lord,
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.
And may the love of God,
the Light of Christ,
and the power and communion of that Spirit
be with us all.
Go in peace. Amen.”
(Talitha Arnold, based on Romans)