Theme: We will always have more than enough
Welcome and Centering Prayer
Presider: We have all been created by the same Great Mystery; we have all been shown by the example of Jesus of Nazareth how to live; we are all supported and strengthened by the Spirit on our journeys. In many important ways, we are all one. And at this time, we come together to share stories of Jesus, break bread, and express gratitude for all that we have and all that we are.
Gathering Hymn: In the Name of All That Is – Jan Novatka (words on last page)
All: O Lover of all, in our journeys into the heart of compassion…and that is you -- we celebrate the love that you continually unfold for us by your being in us -- in each one of us. Help us to recognize and honor the “you” that is in the “me” of everyone.
You call us to see goodness and beauty everywhere and to live in harmony with all of creation. You call us to heal the wounds of hatred and violence, discrimination and oppression in our world. You call us to warmly welcome everyone with whom we come in contact as your presence among us. In communion with Jesus, our brother, and with the power of the Spirit, we will live your love poured out each day. Amen.
Community Reconciliation, Healing, and Transformation
Presider: Compassionate God, to you all hearts are open, no desires unknown, and no secrets hidden. Our desire is to be continually conscious of this in our own lives and recognize this in all we do with others.
All (with an outstretched arm): May we reach deep within ourselves to hear Wisdom’s many messages, to faithfully understand them, and to respond to them with compassionate actions to our brothers and sisters. May we emulate the virtues of pardon and peace that Jesus taught us so that we may- in turn - be more forgiving in our care for ourselves, for one another and for our planet Earth.
May we gather strength through the Divine Presence within us, to extend your merciful and forgiving presence that is your gift – through us – to everyone, everywhere - with whom you share your unending love.
We ask this in the name of all that is Holy. Amen.
Presider: Let us give glory to our loving Holy One.
All (Sung): Glory to God, glory, O praise God, Alleluia. Glory to God, glory.
O praise the name of our God. (3X)
Liturgy of the Word
First Reading: 2 Kings 4:42-44 All: Thanks be to God.
Psalm 63. Responsorial: My soul is thirsting for you, O God, thirsting for you, my God. #781
Second Reading: Ephesians 4:1-6 All: Thanks be to God.
Acclamation: Celtic Alleluia
Gospel: John 6:1-15 All: Glory to you, O God.
Kathryn Shea ARCWP
You all know, it is very rare I use all of the readings in the lectionary when I preside, and often change them or use other readings. Well, today is a rare exception. I used all of the readings, and did not change one word. Perhaps another miracle!
I actually really love all of the readings and they gave me lots of “food for thought”. Pun intended. There are two central themes that speak to me in these readings. The feeding of the 5000 is one of few “miracles” recorded in all four gospels. Each story is a bit different, so I decided to take from each one what stood out for me.
The first is the profound compassion of Jesus. This event occurred shortly after Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, his dearest friend. He wanted to go off to be alone in his grief, but the crowds by the thousands, followed him. He could have easily chosen to send them away so he could attend to his grief in private, but he chose not to. He chose to attend to the needs of the people over his own needs, and we hear this time and again in the stories of Jesus. In Mathew 14.13-21 it says, “When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for then and cured their sick.” Mark’s version of the story is similar. “As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them of many things.” Jesus used it as an opportunity to teach and to heal. The definition of compassion is, “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” May we all live the compassion of Jesus.
A second theme is the concept of scarcity versus abundance. Mathew, Mark, and Luke all have very similar versions of what transpired. “Send them away,” the disciples tell Jesus. “Send them back home, back to their villages so they can find food. We can’t handle all this need.” “Send them away,” they say. But Jesus says, “No, you give them something to eat.” Jesus did not say, “I will feed them.” He told the disciples to feed them. I think there’s a really important message here. Jesus was saying to his disciples, “This is your work, not mine. Don’t put this on me. This is why you are my blessed people. Go feed my people, physically and spiritually, and I am here to assist you.” The bread is a symbol, as we also see in the first reading. As Jesus said a number of times, “I am the Bread and whoever eats of this Bread, will never die.”
But, the apostles see only scarcity and reply to Jesus, “But we only have five loaves and two fish,” they protest. They were clearly overwhelmed by the vast need they saw in front of them, as I’m sure many of us also experience every day.
Too often we see the world this way, through a lens of scarcity, a lens that fears we may not have enough or what might be rightfully ours taken from us. Whether that’s our food, our money, our security, our stuff, our comfort, our critical distance from those that are suffering.
People experiencing hunger and homelessness? Send them away.
People who are gay and lesbian? Send them away.
People with disabilities? Send them away.
Families on the border? Send them away.
“We only have five loaves and two fish. We cannot possibly do what you ask us to do.” The lens of scarcity.
Jesus has a different lens in which he sees; the lens of abundance. “Give them all the food we have,” he says, never doubting there would be more than enough. And there was one small boy who had the basket of fish and bread and gave it to Jesus, also never doubting there would be more than enough. The innocence, faith, and generosity of one small child, never thinking, “If I give my food away, I will go hungry.” In Mathew 18.3 Jesus says, “Assuredly, unless you change, and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Key words; “Unless you change.”
And so the crowd was fed, with twelve baskets of food left over. Perhaps all of the people in the crowd, seeing what this small boy did, also took food from their bags to share, instead of keeping it to themselves. Perhaps that was the true miracle. I think all too often we focus on the miracle instead of the message. Imagine if we all shared our bread with the world. We live in the wealthiest country on Earth, any yet many still go hungry. And we often begrudge people their daily bread if it comes in the form of food stamps or other shared support. The voice of scarcity, and our culture is built on it. The reality is though, that there is more than enough to feed all the hungry people in the world. The food exists. The personal and political will does not. Can you imagine a world where there is no hunger? Can you imagine a world where all are fed? “YOU give them something to eat”, Jesus says.
So my question for consideration is, what more can each of us do to feed the hungry, physically and spiritually and how did today’s readings speak to you?
Shared Homily and Community Reflections
Profession of Faith
All: We believe in the Divine Mystery, beyond all description and understanding, the heart of all that has ever existed, that exists now, or that ever will exist in the expanding universe.
We believe in Jesus of Nazareth, the human Jesus, an enlightened soul who carried the message of God’s Word, who brought the ability to show us how to heal ourselves and others, who is the heart of God’s compassion. He is the bright star in the firmament of God’s prophets, mystics, and saints. And it is through him that we become a new people with One story of salvation. We are here to share his stories of the new message, that we are all holy, we were born holy, and we shall be holy forevermore.
We believe in the Spirit, the one that inspires our innermost life. She keeps the Anointed One present to all those who are searching for meaning and wholeness in their lives.
She strengthens our call to follow Jesus as a vehicle of God’s love. She is the one who helps us reach within ourselves so that she can heal and energize us when our spirits may grow weary in our lives.
And we believe that God’s kin-dom is here and now, stretched out all around us for those with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it, and hands to take it to share with those around us.
Prayers of the Community
Presider: With heads and hearts mindful of God’s unconditional love embedded in each one of us, let us bring our needs and those of our community forward. After each intercession, we respond: We awaken to your call. (Intentions are mentioned here.)
Presider: That those who suffer abuse, may be healed and empowered, we pray.
R. All: We awaken to your call.
Presider: That those bound by hatred, hostility, and violence will be set free, we pray. R.
Presider: That the sick may be healed, especially (mention names), we pray. R.
Presider: That those who have gone ahead of us and dwell forever in their heavenly home, we pray. R.
Presider: And for whom else do we pray at this time? Other Intentions followed by R.
Presider: We hold these and all our unspoken intentions in our hearts and take them with us when we will gather around the Banquet Table.
Offertory Song: God of the Hungry #624 – all verses
Presider: Blessed are you, Jesus of Nazareth, through your goodness we have this bread and this wine and our own lives to offer. Through this sacred meal may we remember how to live the new story.
All: Blessed be God forever.
Presider: Divine Presence, we believe that you are always with us, loving in each of us and healing others through us.
All: Namaste (with a nod…3x)
Presider: Lift up your hearts.
All: We lift them up in tender love, open to serve.
Presider: Let us give thanks for all that we have.
All: It is our joy to be grateful for our many blessings as we gather at our family table.
(so… let us all “gather at our family table”…)
Voice 1: Gracious Wisdom, you embrace us with your extravagant affection in both our blessedness and times of weakness. You are always with us and live in us, and we in you. In this festive meal, your Spirit is poured out to each of us gathered in this circle of your disciples to share your gift of shalom, our peace. And we break out in joy as we sing our “family camp song.”
All: We are holy, holy, holy (3x), we are whole. You are…I am… We are (Karen Drucker)
Voice 2: Gracious God, you have set the banquet table and have invited all of us to the feast of unending delight. Here we celebrate your divine love beyond what words can describe. Your divine compassion connects us to the young and the old, the least and the last, to everyone, everywhere, on our journey into the heart of your mercy.
Voice 3: We thank you, Holy Mystery, for the gift of Jesus of Nazareth in history –and the gift of Jesus in faith. You brought him from among your people to baptize us in your Spirit. His life was moved by his vision of your presence in himself and in his mission, and he recognized you in everyone he met. He showed us, through his example, not only how we should live, but also for what was worth dying.
Voice 4: And when his time on earth had come, to a close, Jesus – aware of and accepting his destiny – gave up his life for the values that he deeply believed, lived and taught…his conviction that love is stronger than death. And then, in providing an example of this wisdom for all people in the ages to come, he opened wide his arms…and died. And the Spirit that lived in Jesus is resurrected in all of us who decide to live the new story. Jesus is with us today as he will be through the end of time.
All: We remember the gift that Jesus gave us on the night before he died. He gathered with his friends to share a final Passover meal. And it was at that supper that Jesus took bread, said the blessing and shared it with them saying: take this all of you and eat it. This bread is you; this bread is me. We are one body, the presence of God in the world. When you do this, remember me, and all I have taught you. (pause a moment, then continue….)
All: In the same way, Jesus took a cup of wine, said the blessing and gave it to his friends saying: take this all of you and drink it. This wine is you; this wine is me. We are one blood, the presence of God in the world. When you do this, remember me, and all I have taught you.
Presider: Jesus, who was with God “in the beginning of the creation of the heavens and the earth,” is with us now in this bread. The Spirit, of whom the prophets spoke in history, is with us now in this cup. Let us proclaim this mystery of our faith.
All: The Anointed One lives in us and through us in the world today.
Voice 5: God, we know that you bless your church throughout the world. We, your people, desire to grow in our love and caring for Francis, our Pope, Bridget Mary, our Bishop, and with everyone we come in contact, especially those who live on the margins of church and society. They are all our brothers and sisters and are reflections of your presence within all your people. We remember also those, living and dead, who touched our lives and left their footprints on our hearts. We remember especially….(mention names, if you would like to…
All: We believe that the Spirit of God is at work in and among us and will do more than we can ever ask or imagine. Amen. (sung, x times)
The Prayer of Jesus
All (sing): Our Father and Mother, who are in heaven, blessed is your name…...
The Sign of Peace
Presider: God, we know that you give us peace and unity beyond what any words can express. You are here with us as we join hands in a circle of love and sing our prayer: “Let there be peace on earth.” (#532)
Litany at the Breaking of the Bread
Presider: Loving God…All: you call us to Spirit-filled service and to live the Gospel of non-violence for peace and justice. We will live justly.
Presider: Loving God…All: you call us to be your presence in the world and to be bearers of forgiveness and understanding, healing and compassion everywhere in your name. We will love tenderly.
Presider: Loving God…All: you call us to speak truth to power. We will walk humbly with you.
Presider: This is Jesus, who calls us to open doors that are closed and share our bread and wine on the altar of the world. All are invited to eat and drink at this sacred banquet of love.
All: When we share in this meal, we, whom you created as worthy, commit to live your teachings, dear Jesus, and to tell your stories that allow Spirit to rise up within us and empowers us to bring the kin-dom of God to this world. This is the good news of salvation.
Presider: Let us share and spread this good news! ALL: Amen. (As we share this sacred meal, we say to one another with the passing of the bread, You are the love of God in the world.” When we share the wine we say, “You are the Face of God in the world.”)
Communion Music: Instrumental
Post Communion Meditation Hymn: Until All Are Fed - Bryan Field McFarland
Prayer of Thanksgiving after Communion
Presider: Holy One, may this Eucharist in which we share Jesus’s healing love, deepen our oneness with you and with one another. May we share our bountiful blessings, knowing that God who embraces us always, always gives us all more than we need. May we be grateful daily for all of our many blessings. And may wonder and thanksgiving fill us with knowledge and understanding as we experience the infusion of your love and compassion in us, your sacred people. We join in unity in this prayer with Mary, and our brother, Jesus.
All: May we give and receive abundant love.
May our belief in love enrich and sustain us.
May we find wonder and miracle in the ordinariness of life.
May we experience joy in the Light burning within us.
May we know true peace in our minds and in our hearts. (Michael Morwood; Prayers for Progressive Christians)
Closing Community Blessing
All (extend an arm in mutual blessing): We come together at this special time, moved by a light within us and within all people. We believe that this light, this love within is the light of the Great Mystery. It is the light we name God, Love, Creator, Infinite Spirit, Breath of God. We, as a sacred community, bless one another, and all of our sisters and brothers, who are called to this Light. May our Loving God be with us as we continue on our paths and follow in the footsteps of Jesus -for we are the face of God to the world. Amen.
Closing Song: More Than Enough – Daniel Nahmod
Presiders: May we go forth and spread the message of abundance, love and compassion to the world. May we be the light in the world for others. Let this be our mission…and let our service continue!
All: Thanks be to God; let it be so.