Service for Sunday 25th July 2021

By Rev Dr Stephen Wigley on July 24, 2021

Link for recorded Sunday Service is below,



Rev Dr Stephen Wigley

(Readings; Psalm 145.10-18; Ephesians 3.14-21; John 6.1-21)

1) It’s good to share in worship with you all in this season of summer. At the moment we’re
preparing for our summer break but it’s not like our usual plan. There is no trip to the Italian lakes or
feasting in festas in hillside towns & villages; instead it’s a week in Criccieth in N Wales, hoping that
the present sunshine lasts.

2) But not to worry. Some of those themes are picked up in today’s Gospel reading from John, which
is set by a lakeside (Galilee) with crowds gathering first to hear Jesus – then wondering how they will
all be fed.

3) When I was much younger, I recall a spiritual by Harry Belafonte which my Dad had on a record
which went ‘Jehovah, Alleluia, the Lord will provide’. I have a sense that both our readings today
involve trusting that the Lord will provide; but the underlying question is HOW will God do it? How
does the Lord provide?

4) Now the FEEDING of the crowd is a miracle common to all Gospels accounts; but as usual, John
has his own particular way of telling the story; so what’s distinctive in John’s account of the event?

5) In his account like the others, the disciples are facing a crisis; how to feed so many when there’s
no food. The answer to their dilemna begins when a little boy offers up what he has – 5 loaves and 2
fishes. Jesus then tells the people to sit down, blesses the food and suddenly there’s enough to feed
all (and more).

6) Now Biblical scholars note the eucharistic theme to story; how Jesus takes bread, gives thanks,
breaks and gives the bread (symbolic of communion); but what’s equally significant is that when
someone (in this case a young boy) starts to share, there’s more than enough for all – and indeed
some 12 baskets left over.

7) Furthermore in John’s account, this story is immediately followed by the episode involving a
It’s the strange account of how the disciples start to panic when faced with a sudden squall on Lake
Galilee (which is somewhat surprising given that a number of them of them are experienced

8) What appears to throw them is when Jesus appears ‘walking on sea’ towards them. It’s as if this
serves to remind them that he’s not with them in the boat; that they’re on own – which is when they
start to panic

9) Jesus’ response is deeply symbolic. He says ‘Do not be afraid; it’s I’ (or in Greek ‘I am’.) This is an
echo of the name of God given to Moses (‘I am who I am’) when he leads God’s people out of slavery
into freedom.

Jesus’ words are sufficient to calm both waves & disciples minds; the panic is over when Jesus is with them.

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