John 6: 1-21

Illustrated New Resources from 2021

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  • Sermon Starters (Proper 12B)(2021)

    by Scott Hoezee
    Even some of the foods we eat each week have a religious background. In the mid-1800s there was a group of people in America known as the Millerites–a Christian sect firmly convinced that Jesus would return sometime late in the year 1843. He didn’t, setting off what was called “the Great Disappointment.” At least some of these folks, however, made the best of the situation by declaring that as a matter of fact Jesus had returned but that it had turned out to be an invisible, spiritual advent. Believing themselves to be living in an already-present millennial kingdom, these Adventists decided that as part of this new identity they should invent alternative foods as a sign of their not being fully in this world. So one preacher named Sylvester Graham invented a new kind of cracker for his congregation to eat–yes, the Graham Cracker. Peanut butter was also invented at this time, as was a variety of cold breakfast cereals, including something called a “corn flake,” perfected by Adventist devotee John Harvey Kellogg in a spiritual community located in Battle Creek, Michigan...

Other New Resources from 2021

[If you have any questions about navigating through the site (and for some helpful tips even if you do!), please check out our video guide. Just copy this link (https://www.loom.com/share/afe3352a69f44bff814af8b695701c5e) and paste it into your favorite browser.]

Recommended Resources

{Based on requests from several members (although I am reluctant to do so since my favorites may not be those of others), I am listing here some of my own favorite resources. FWIW!!]
  • Two-and-a-Half Stories

    by D. Mark Davis
    lots of Greek exegesis!
  • If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home by Now

    by Stan Duncan
    ("Look again at the four acts described before the actual feeding itself: he 'took', 'gave thanks', [7] 'broke', and 'gave'. While these probably are not images that prophesy upcoming Holy Communion, they are images that hearken back to traditional Hebrew gestures of a gracious host welcoming guests to his banquet table...")
  • *Humorous Illustration

    from Eculaugh
    ("A nervous young minister, new to the church, told the flock, "For my text today, I will take the words, 'And they fed five men with five thousand loaves of bread and two thousand fishes...")
  • *Loaves and Fishes

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("One day an old man living on the street became very ill and was taken to the hospital. The doctors realized that he could not live very long. They tried to find the old man's name, but all the old man would say is, 'Son! Son!' In looking through his clothing for identification, they could only find a news clipping about a marine stationed in Korea..." and several other illustrations)
  • Gifts for the Lord

    by Sil Galvan
    ("So what does all of this have to do with us? Aren't we a little like the people in the crowd who believed that the Lord surely could not possibly have any use for the few food stuffs which they had to offer? Sometimes, don't we feel that we have no gifts of any significance to offer for the Lord to use?....")
  • Proper 12B

    by Bill Loader
    (always good insights!)
  • Proper 12B (2012)

    by Dennis Ormseth
    (good analysis with several quotes)
  • Exegetical Notes (John 6:1-21)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (excellent exegesis)
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Ordinary 17B)(#2)

    by Various Authors
    During the winter of 1610, the population of Jamestown went from about 500 people to about 60. While disease and conflict with the natives took some, most of the settlers simply starved. There were plentiful supplies of fish, oysters, frogs, fowl, and deer; but these settlers from the city were not accustomed to obtaining food from the land. Hence, they starved! We sometimes act the same way. God comes to us continually in the person of the Holy Spirit to guide us. As a loving Father God awaits the opportunity to meet our needs, but we are not accustomed to receiving from His loving hand. Nor does it occur to us to pray. So we wander blindly from problem to problem, a sort of picture of those early settlers who starved in a land of plenty.
  • Hope for Christian Pessimists

    by Andrew Whaley
    We are quickly approaching the climax of The Return of the King, Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the Tolkien classic. Frodo has taken the Ring of Power into the land of Mordor to destroy it in Mount Doom. But there are many enemy soldiers in the land to block his journey, capture him, perhaps even kill him. Gandalf, the wizard, frets beyond the border in Gondor with King Aragorn and others. Will the Hobbit complete his mission? King Aragorn devises a plan, however, a diversion to draw the forces of Mordor into battle with the forces of Gondor. His hope is to distract the evil Sauron, giving Frodo the clearance he needs to destroy the ring. But the forces of Gondor pale in comparison to the power of Mordor. There is doubt in the party that the diversion will work. But Aragorn rallies his friends to his side, to take the chance, for the sake of Frodo and their future. At which point, Gimli the dwarf pulls his pipe from his mouth and exclaims in his brogue, “Certainty of death. Small chance of success. What are we waiting for?” In that witty and ironic line, Gimli voices the pessimist’s commitment. It’s a willingness to forego what makes logical sense, to even proclaim that it probably won’t work, but then to make the effort anyway. The apostle Andrew gives us such an example of such pessimistic commitment in our gospel today...

    and several other great illustrations. Highly recommended!!

  • Movies Representing Miracles

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

Illustrated Resources from 2018 to 2020

  • Ordinary 17B (2018)

    by Malinda Elizabeth Berry
    A few months ago, in a moment of nostalgia, I absconded with a book titled Loaves and Fishes from my mother’s overflowing shelf of cookbooks. Coauthored by Linda Hunt, Mari­anne Frase, and Doris Liebert and published in 1980 by Herald Press, Loaves and Fishes: A “Love Your Neighbor” Cook­book is a children’s version of Frances Moore Lappé’s Diet for a Small Planet and Doris Janzen Longacre’s More-with-Less Cookbook. Our love-worn copy is a bit tattered, but I’m enjoying introducing my children to recipes I tried as a kid that helped me learn about “healthy eating in a world of limited resources.” Standing in contrast to my Loaves and Fishes cookbook are The Loaves and Fishes Cookbook (1987) and The Loaves and Fishes Party Cookbook (1990), by Anna Pump, founder of the Loaves and Fishes, a food store in the Hamptons...
  • Theology of Abundance

    by Evan Garner
    My grandmother worked at a dance studio, and she had to finish that day’s teaching before she set out for the three- or four-hour trip. With a change in time zone, her arrival would be especially late, but, about the time when my mother expected her to show up, it occurred to her that her guest may not have eaten supper. “Surely she will have already eaten; it’s nearly nine o’clock,” she said to my father, trying to push that growing sliver of fear out of her mind, but the fear didn’t go away. “She never said anything about dinner, but what if she hasn’t eaten?” my mother continued as the fear steadily grew. Jumping up, looking in the cupboard, and finding almost nothing, her fear escalated into a full-blown panic as my mother considered the implications of having nothing to offer her mother-in-law. “Where am I to buy something for my mother-in-law to eat?” she said to my father, who probably just shrugged his shoulders. Adding another can of tomatoes to some leftover chili and fixing a skillet of cornbread didn’t provide much, but it was enough to avoid the shame of having nothing for her mother-in-law’s first visit...
  • Preaching Helps (Proper 12B)(2018)

    by Scott Hoezee
    Throughout history and across many very different religious traditions there has long been a curious linkage between spirituality and food. The Old Testament has its share of dietary restrictions and laws, many of which to this day translate into what observant Jews regard as kosher or non-kosher foods. Although the Christian faith has largely left behind such strictures, we still regard gluttony as one of the deadly sins, and some Christians also promote strict vegetarianism. Then there is the Roman Catholic “no meat on Friday” rule, which made the headlines a few years ago when St. Patrick’s day fell on a Friday during Lent, thus causing a number of Catholic bishops to suspend the rule for just March 17 so the Irish could celebrate with their traditional corned beef and a pint of Guinness!...
  • Multiplying Loaves and Fishes — and the Space in Our Hearts

    by Janet Hunt
    I received word last week that the eldest daughter of a beloved friend and colleague had suddenly died. I went as soon as I could. Pastor Joe was sitting on the front steps of their home surrounded by friends. We shared a hug and some quiet words. In those moments, I offered the space which is so abundant in our building for surely the death of a 15 year old, particularly one as well known and loved as Neveah, would draw a crowd which their place of worship would not be able to accommodate. “No,” he assured me. “We’ve done this before. We want to do this at New Hope.” The next day I received a text from him saying he had reconsidered. They would hold the funeral in their own church but he was wondering if they could hold the funeral lunch at First Lutheran. And so we did. But first a little background. First Lutheran is a congregation made up of mostly those of Northern European descent. New Hope Missionary Baptist Church is primarily African American...
  • If Broadway Feeds Our Souls, Why Do We Still Need the Gospel?

    by Terrance Klein
    In “Carousel,” when Julie’s deeply flawed lover Billie dies, her cousin Nettie sings to her: When you walk through a storm Hold your head up high And don’t be afraid of the dark At the end of the storm There’s a golden sky And the sweet silver song of a lark. Walk on through the wind, Walk on in the rain, Though your dreams be tossed and blown, Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart, And you’ll never walk alone! You’ll never walk alone. A lot of folk have found that song very meaningful. They have found nourishment for their souls in it...
  • It's a Miracle! It's a Miracle!

    by Larry Patten
    I recall attending a writer’s conference in Seattle. I had a goal: convince one or more of the literary agents attending the conference to read a sample of a novel I’d written and consider representing me. Back then, without an agent, “unknown” novelists would remain unknown and unpublished. Several agents asked to see more of my writing. Hooray for my side! However, there was an agent I was interested in that wasn’t at the conference. I had done my homework and believed this particular agent might consider my work. However times two, I discovered she was not accepting “unsolicited queries.” She would only look at writing samples where someone she trusted recommended that author. One of her clients was the conference’s keynote speaker...
  • Getting Nourishment from the Bread

    by Andrew Prior
    Stargate was mandated TV viewing by the teenagers in our house. In one dire situation, one of the team cried out to Col. Jack ONeil, "How will we get out of this, Sir?" To which he replied something like, "How do I know; it's not like I can fix it with a pocket knife!" I asked why my son was so amused by this, and was told with that eye roll known to all parents of enlightened teenagers: "It's Richard Dean Anderson." Such replies seem designed to show up parental ignorance— don't answer Bible Study questions in this way— so I buried my pride and asked, "So?" Sigh— "He's the same actor who played MacGyver."...
  • Abundance Born Out of Scarcity

    by Kelly Hough Rogers
    Muir Woods is unique in that it still holds multiple groves of Redwood trees. These groves are known as family groups or sometimes as cathedrals. In many ways, a cathedral of trees is a representation of Jesus and the disciples. Cathedrals of redwoods are simply trees that have grown up from the remains of a fallen and isolated tree. Remember, that isolated tree had to fight to get there in the first place. For every 100,000 seeds that drop from a Redwood, only one or two will germinate in that exposed and raw soil. The cathedral trees grow up out of the isolated tree known as the shard. The shard has to break down to host the new trees, which grow out of its perimeter and form a circle around it. Eventually, the shard itself dies, but the genetic information of the surrounding cathedral trees is identical from the stump they sprang out of. Cathedrals of trees are sturdier than isolated trees. They can grow taller and survive longer because they help to anchor one another. Redwood trees have very shallow root systems. Cathedral groups weave their roots together, so if one tree is slightly uprooted, the other trees in the system will help it to keep standing. Isolated trees often do not survive catastrophic events, but cathedrals do. They share nutrients in times of scarcity and give off oxygen and nutrients to the soil in times of abundance...
  • Feed the Hungry

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    As Christians, our task is not to pick between being a Mother Teresa or a social justice advocate. The gospel asks us to be both. We need to work at transforming the conditions that create poverty even as we, like Mother Teresa, reach out personally, beyond the economics and social issues involved, to feed very individual poor people. Jesus’ command to feed the hungry asks us to become a Dorothy Day.
  • Scarcity versus Abundance

    by David Russell
    I read a very interesting article just this week about a church in Lauderdale – it’s a small suburb just north of St. Paul, kind of tucked in between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Peace Lutheran Church is in an out of the way location, across the street from the sound barriers along Highway 280. The church is not in a location that draws visitors, and it had declined to the point that it had 20 members. They had enough money to keep the doors open for about 18 months. Basically, they had 5 barley loaves and 2 fish. They hired a part-time pastor, and decided that if they were going to die anyway, they might as well go for it. They were going to die well. So here is what they did: they decided to take “love thy neighbor” to a practical extreme. They leafleted Lauderdale with 700 fliers, offering to roof houses, fix plumbing, repair anything in need, free of charge. There would be no litmus tests, no income requirements, they didn’t care if you were Lutheran or atheist. They would get your furnace running, make your kitchen handicap accessible, ensure your car started in time for work. “Your quality of life can be improved if the toilet works,” said one member. Pastor Dave Greenlund knew that Peace would get few takers. Lauderdale is a mix of working people and those who’ve seen better days. These were not people who talked about their troubles, and there was the natural suspicion of anything religious - the assumption that “free” would come with a lot of proselytizing. Only two women responded. One needed concrete repaired and the footings fixed in a rotting garage. Another hoped that her house could be painted. The church stayed at it. They cleaned homes for shut-ins, built chair lifts, rewired old houses for widows whose husbands had kept the lights on with the duct tape method. They did not preach or expect recipients to come to church. They would simply help. In time, word spread...
  • We Are One

    by Alex Thomas
    More than three hundred years ago, a mystic in Wales, Henry Vaughan wrote this: Charity is a relic from paradise, and pity is a strange argument that we are all descended from one human being. It sounds rather mysterious and very mystical, yet he was right: Our compassion for others derives from the fact that we are one. We all participate in the same human, God-given life. Though many, we are one. We form one communion, or at least we should. That is what we know, that is what we feel, when we see one another smashed-up, hungry, thirsty, frustrated or miserable.
  • Gifts in the Attic

    by Carl Wilton
    After the funeral, when the nieces and nephews finally went through Aunt Sally’s apartment, they found the strangest thing. Way up in the attic bedroom that no one ever entered (the one behind the dormer window), they discovered a treasure-trove of gifts. Each present was wrapped in cheerful, colored paper, and circled with shimmering ribbon — the ends teased into spirals by a scissors-blade. There were literally dozens of wrapped presents: some stacked neatly against the walls, others piled high on the cushions of the old sofa. Still others were strewn across the Persian rug in the center of the floor, right where Aunt Sally must have knelt to wrap them. As for the wrapping paper, some of it was decades old. The colored corners of the boxes were worn away to whiteness. The paper itself was brittle and yellowed. When the nieces and nephews opened one or two of the older boxes, and turned back the crinkly tissue paper, they found clothing that harkened back to earlier eras — things no one would dream of wearing today. Aunt Sally had missed her chance with those presents! Some items within the boxes qualified as genuine antiques. One box contained an original Mickey Mouse watch (like the one cousin Matthew asked for, even prayed for, one Christmas, when he was still a kid). There was a record album by the Turtles, in its original wrapper (Melissa had always liked that group). There was a Duncan Yo-Yo, complete with instructions on how to finesse a “cat’s cradle” and an “around-the world.” There was even a lava lamp, still in its original box. Once they recovered from their astonishment, the family had but one question: Why? Did Aunt Sally have a strange phobia — a creeping terror of being caught empty-handed one birthday or Christmas? Or did she simply have a shopping habit that was way out of control? Whatever her reasons, through all the decades she lived in that rambling, Victoriangingerbread house, Aunt Sally stockpiled presents like there was no tomorrow...
  • God of My Own Making

    by Ryan Young
    I am reminded of Walter Brueggemann’s prayer, “Not at Our Beck and Call,” We call out your name in as many ways as we can. We fix your role towards us in the ways we need. We approach you from the particular angle of our life. We do all that, not because you need to be identified, but because of our deep need, our deep wound, our deep hope. And then, we are astonished that while our names for you serve for a moment, you break beyond them in your freedom, you show yourself yet fresh beyond our utterance, you retreat into your splendor beyond our grasp. We are–by your freedom and your hiddenness– made sure yet again that you are God… not at our beck and call, but always in your own way...

Illustrated Resources from 2015 to 2017

  • Barley Loaves

    Video and Instructions from Adorable Eggplant
  • The Body of Christ, The Bread of Life

    Narrative Sermon by Hubert Beck
  • Dimensions of the Eucharist: Food

    by Phil Bloom
    (" Today's word, as you probably have already figured out, is 'food'. Food has three purposes. First, to repair the body. Hippocrates the father of medicine, said, 'Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.' Jesus, the Bread of Life, heals us. The second purpose of food is social: it unites people. Third, food brings joy...")
  • What Good Are These?

    by Jim Chern
    ("A couple of weeks ago I was sitting at a meeting when a friend turned to me and asked if I had an extra pen. I took a look, and on the bottom of my backpack, I saw an old ball-point pen. The plastic outer shell of it was broken. It was kind of dirty too from dust, lint or whatever other particles made it into this bag that doubles as both my gym bag and briefcase. At any event, I pulled the pen out half not realizing I had done so, as I said 'No, I don't.' He looked at me kind of in disbelief trying to figure out whether I was stupid or busting on him...")
  • Proper 12B (2015)

    by Delmer Chilton
    In the far west of North Carolina where I live, you will often see a sign in front of a church or Masonic Lodge or VFW building announcing a 'Poor Man's Dinner' fundraising event. (Except for the Catholics who have 'Friday Night Fish Fry', for which I am eternally grateful.) A 'Poor Man's Dinner' consists of pinto beans and cornbread, with sweet iced tea and appropriate deserts. This is a nod to the area's past when most of the people were very poor and pinto beans and cornbread got many families through the winter...
  • Jesus and the Feeding of the 5000 and a Man Named Karl

    by Janet Hunt
    ("I was in my office gathering up files and papers when I glanced up to see a stranger talking to our council president. Instinct borne of experience told me that he was probably looking for the pastor, so I made my way out to where they were standing. It took but a glance to take in the situation. Our guest's jeans were in tatters. He had new stitches across his forehead. There were dark smudges under his eyes...")
  • Secret Place

    by Terrance Klein
    ("Have you ever met anyone who describes junior high as the best time of life? Not likely. You go back to school one autumn, and the girls aren't just the dumb girls. They're the opposite sex. No one told you that was scheduled to occur over the summer. And suddenly you're worried that the guys in your class are larger, stronger....")
  • Bugs at the Picnic (John)

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
  • Multiplication

    by Ryan Mills
    "Several years ago I volunteered at a homeless shelter for women and children in a rough part of Fort Worth, Texas. One night as we prepared the meager sandwiches for dinner, a young girl, 8 or 9 years old, who had evidently volunteered several times at the shelter, had decided to celebrate her birthday there with the shelter's moms and children. And she had invited her friends to come join her, but instead of bringing her presents, she asked that they each bring a dish of food to share..."
  • Fragments

    by Nancy Rockwell
    "Who hasn't given in to the Demon Anxiety? Anxiety is like an old and familiar pair of shoes, pinchingly painful but predictable and secure. Moving ahead while doubting myself, doubting God and certainly Jesus, muttering no good will come of this at each step of my way, seems to be all the faith I can muster, often, seems to be the way I pinch my spirit..."
  • Feed the Hungry

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("How can you and I feed the hungry? There are a couple of possible approaches. Mother Teresa takes one approach. For her, Jesus' command is simple and clear. Each of us should personally, beyond government and other agencies, reach out concretely and touch some poor person or persons. In the second view, it is less important to feed this or that individual person on a given day than it is to change the social, political, and economic structures that are responsible for that particular person being hungry...")
  • The World's Largest Covered Dish Lunch

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("Paul Brunner tells a wonderful story about a young man named Jeff. Jeff learned one Sunday morning that his church was holding a picnic that afternoon. He hurried home from church to pack his lunch and get to the picnic grounds. But, lo and behold, when he opened the refrigerator door, he discovered only a single piece of dried up bologna and two stale pieces of bread. And to make things worse, there was barely enough mustard to color his knuckles when he tried to scrape the bottom of the jar...")
  • The Politics of Downward Mobility

    by Robert Williamson, Jr.
    ("This text reminds me of a story told about Gordon Cosby, the founding pastor of the well-known Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C. Each member of Cosby's church was expected to discern a call to transform the world in one way or another. Yet Cosby insisted that any truly Christian call to transform the world was always to be "downwardly mobile." That is, he believed the true call of Christ always moves the Christian toward the poor and the marginalized...")
  • Proper 12B (2015)

    by Paul Nuechterlein
    ("One of my favorite stories is about a mother, father, and six year-old girl who went out to eat one night. They were about to bite into their steak sandwiches when the little girl protested, 'Wait! We haven't prayed yet'. Somewhat flustered, her mother led them in the common table prayer...")

Illustrated Resources from 2012 to 2014

  • Proper 12B (2012)

    by David Brooks
    "In Stephen Covey's book, there was a pen and ink drawing with subtle shading. The question was simple: what do you see? A portion of a class would be shown an image of a young woman, her head turned slightly to one side. A second portion would be shown a picture of an elderly woman, with a hooked nose...
  • Food, Sharing and Becoming What We Eat

    by Rex Hunt
    The whole family went out for dinner one evening. Menus were passed to all including Kathy, the eight-year old daughter. The conversation was an ‘adult’ one, so Kathy sat ignored. When the waiter took orders, he came to Kathy last. “And what do you want?” he asked. “A hamburger and a coke,” she said. “No,” said her grandmother, “she’ll have the roast chicken, carrots, and mashed potatoes.” “And milk to drink,” chimed in her father. “And what kind of sause would you like on your hamburger?” asked the waiter as he walked away, taking the parents aback. “Tomato,” she called out. She then turned to her family and added, “You know what? He thinks I’m real!”
  • Honky Tonk Angels

    by Terrance Klein
    ("Here are the lyrics to Hank Thompson's Wild Side of Life. In 1952, it was #1 for 15 weeks on Billboard's Country Charts. 'You wouldn't read my letter if I wrote you You asked me not to call you on the phone But there's something I'm wanting to tell you So I wrote it in the words of this song. I didn't know God made honky tonk angels. I might have known you'd never make a wife....")
  • *More Than Enough

    by James McCrea
    ("In a certain year, a long time ago, in a place most of us never knew, a community was blessed. The vision was planted long before the birth, but in that year, only the History Committee was sure of the exact time, a birth was announced and a church was born. The Young Church was a vital church, determined to grow and to reach out to the community; it was determined to serve the needs of the people who lived there...")
  • Proper 12B (2012)

    by Robert Morrison
    ("In 1952, J. B. Phillips wrote Your God Is Too Small. The introduction begins, 'No one is ever really at ease in facing what we call "life" and "death" without a religious faith. The trouble with many people today is that they have not found a God big enough for modern needs..." and another illustration)
  • Illustrations and Quotes (Proper 12B)(2012)

    from New Zealand Methodist Conference
  • Proper 12B (2012)

    by John Priest
    "Three Miracles. Count them - three. One. Two. Three. That's how many miracles there are in the lesson I just read you from the Gospel of John. Three. Did you notice them all? Two of the miracles are obvious; the third not so much. Which is why maybe you didn't notice it unless you were listening really well..."
  • Gathering the Fragments

    by Jan Richardson
    ("Cup your hands together, and you will see the shape this blessing wants to take. Basket, bowl, vessel: it cannot help but hold itself open to welcome what comes. This blessing knows the secret of the fragments that find their way into its keeping, the wholeness that may hide in what has been left behind, the persistence of plenty where there seemed only lack...")
  • Feed the Hungry

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("A cynic once quipped: 'What would you get if you crossed a radical liberal social justice advocate with a strongly conservative pious daily communicant?' The answer? Dorothy Day!...")
  • The Four Spiritual Flaws

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("Want to attract young, floundering, post-high school people to a life of faith, fulfillment, and commitment? Would your first thought be to offer that age group a solid set of 'divine directives' - aka 'Four Spiritual Laws?' Probably not. Unless you were Bill Bright in 1952, when he offered that gleaming, golden nugget of insight to a new generation of spiritual seekers...")
  • Sharing Our Bread

    by Todd Weir
    ("Take a moment with me and step into this scene. You are now a first century Galilean. Its pay day so you stop and buy a few barley loaves and while you are at the fish market, you hear the growing fame of Jesus, the carpenter from Nazereth, who confounds the Pharisees with unconventional but plain wisdom, and who reportedly heals the sick....")

Illustrated Resources from 2009 to 2011

  • Finding Optimism

    by Mickey Anders
    ("The ABC network carried a program this week featuring Michael J. Fox. It was entitled Adventures of an Incurable Optimist, an interesting title because Fox has an incurable disease, but he is still an optimist. When he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease nearly 20 years ago, he never imagined how much it would change his life...")
  • It Only Takes Five Barley Loaves and Two Fish

    by Hubert Beck
    "It is a well known fact that layering is a better way to keep warm when it is bitter cold than to simply wear one large, heavy coat. The layering maintains warmth by means of keeping various levels of heat all working together, level upon level, at the same time..."
  • Think of All the Souls

    by Phil Bloom
    ("A person can take two different attitudes to a problem a like traffic. The two attitudes are illustrated by a conversation between C. S. Lewis and one of his friends. They were visiting one of the huge tenements that had sprung up after World War II. His friend said, 'Oh, look at all those people'. But Lewis responded, 'Think of all those souls.'...")
  • Scarcity and Abundance

    by Luke Bouman
    "Certainly, the church has not learned much over the centuries from that day on the hillside. We too, when called by God to do something, echo the disciples. 'We would like to feed the hungry of our city, but our congregation is nothing compared to the many who need food. How can we even begin to make a dent in the problem.'..."
  • The Gospel in Disney: Peter Pan 2

    by George Cushman
    ("We begin our Gospel in Disney series with the sequel to the classic Disney film, Peter Pan called Peter Pan 2 Return to Neverland. The movie is set in war-ravaged London during World War II. Wendy, who was a girl in the first Peter Pan movie, is now a grown-up with a husband and children of her own....")
  • More Unexpected Jesus

    by Sharon Hiers
    ("In February of 2007, I traveled with a few undergraduates and the dean of students from the University of the South, in Sewanee, Tennessee to Quito, Ecuador. The primary purpose of our trip was to record the stories of the first ever gathering of leaders from around the globe making a difference in their communities and in the world...")
  • God's Abundant Presence

    by Kate Huey
    (includes several quotes)
  • Abundance

    by David Russell
    "Many of you have watched the "Black in America" program on CNN. One of the stories was about Malaak Compton-Rock, the wife of comedian Chris Rock. She took a group of 26 twelve- to fifteen-year-old kids from New York City to South Africa to volunteer among the poorest of the poor...." and another illustration
  • The Feeding of the 50

    by John Sumwalt and Jo Perry-Sumwalt
    "Nancy Baker's cooking had become something of a legend at Our Savior's Church. Whenever there was need for advice or action on a church dinner, Nancy's phone would ring, and she was nearly always happy to comply because she loved to plan and cook meals. In part, people's high regard for her expertise came from the fact that Nancy had taught Home Ecomonics at the local high school for thirty years. But the most likely reason Nancy was so often consulted was the miracle she had performed..."
  • *Small Saves

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("A box came in the mail the other day. It was a surprise free gift from the local power company. Or I should say two free gifts. The power company sent every one of their customers a new 'low flow' showerhead, designed to cut down on water usage, but still feel like a real shower. The second free gift was four of those new curly-q fluorescent light bulbs...")
  • Proper 12B (2009)

    by Martin Warner
  • Images of Eating/Meals (John)

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Images of Fish/Fishing

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from the Archives

  • Little Lad's Little Lunch

    by Robert Allred
    ("One of the great miracle stories is that of the ministry of Bill Bright and his Campus Crusade for Christ. A 'happy pagan' at age 23 and the son of wealth who partied nightly at Los Angeles' Coconut Grove nightclub he was anything but a Christian. Then one day God's unseen hand reached into his car and parked it in a church parking lot...")
  • Confident Hindu

    from Biblical Studies
  • Spiritual Hunger

    from Biblical Studies
  • Proper 12B (2006)

    from the Center for Excellence in Preaching
    ("Throughout history and across many very different religious traditions there has long been a curious linkage between spirituality and food. The Old Testament has its share of dietary restrictions and laws, many of which to this day translate into what observant Jews regard as kosher or non-kosher foods...")
  • It Makes a Difference

    by Allison Cline
    "Early one morning, after a night of violent storms which had cast many fish onto the beach, a little boy was picking up objects off the beach and tossing them out into the sea. An older gentleman approached him and saw that the objects were starfish...." and other illustrations
  • *In Your Hands

    by Tom Cox
    ("We all find ourselves at times in situations where we don't know what to say. Dominican author Timothy Radcliffe in his latest book recounts such a time. Rwanda, 1994 at the height of the genocide and Radcliffe found himself in the company of two friars, one Hutu and the other Tutsi...")
  • Feeding the Crowds

    by Sara Olson Dean
    ("Once upon a time there was a boy. There was nothing strange or unusual about him; he was just a boy who lived with his family in a fishing village by the sea. Most of the time, life in the village was fairly quiet. Every day, the boy walked from his house down to the water, where he watched the fishermen work...")
  • Feeding the Hungry Crowd

    by Ernest Munachi Ezeogu, CSSP
    ("Little Johnny was in Sunday school and his mother came to collect him. 'Boy,' exclaimed Johnny as he settled himself in the car, 'that story of Moses and all those people crossing the Red Sea was something!'...")
  • From Small Beginnings

    by Richard Fairchild
    Paul had received a special pre-Christmas gift from his brother. It was a beautiful new car - fully loaded and ready to go. On Christmas Eve, when Paul came out of his office, a street kid was walking around the shiny new car, admiring it...
  • What a Bountiful God!

    by Art Ferry, Jr.
    ("An old prospector came into a saloon in frontier California and ordered a glass of milk with a shot of whiskey in it. While the bartender was fixing his drink, the old prospector wandered over to speak to some of his friends. Before he came back, a man came in wearing a black threadbare coat. He walked up to the bartender and timidly said, 'Sir, I'm a poor traveling Baptist circuit rider...." and other illustrations)
  • Life-Giving Bread

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("Nowadays we hear so much about diets and what foods are good for you and which ones are not. Food specialists are recruited from far and wide to give their opinions about what is a healthy diet. Magazines regularly feature articles on sure-fire methods on how to lose weight or how to stay slim, and what to eat to make sure that you have the figure that everyone admires...")
  • Miracle of Caring

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("I came across an article entitled The Beer and Ice Cream Diet. I read on with interest but wondered about its scientific validity. The basic theory the writer put forward is this: it takes one calorie to heat up one gram of water one degree Celsius. That means that if you eat very cold food the body has to warm this up to body temperature...")
  • Ordinary 17B (2006)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time there was a good Catholic layman who wanted to run for political office so that he could clean up politics and eliminate political corruption. He had some money of his own and some affluent friends so he was able to organize a campaign...")
  • Ordinary 17B (2003)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time a certain woman went on a vacation with her husband and children. She didn't want to go on a vacation because she had been on them before and she knew they meant more work for her...")
  • Ordinary 17B (2000)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time a crowd of young people poured out of the five o'clock Saturday afternoon Mass and promptly engaged in a fierce argument, the kind that one hears sometimes between Cubs fans and Sox fans...")
  • *Difference

    by George Griffin
    ("THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE was based on the classic novel by Stephen Crane. It starred Audie Murphy, and is a moving study of Americans fighting Americans and the reluctance many of them brought to this awesome, awful task. Audie Murphy portrays a youth who experiences his very first combat and is absolutely guilt stricken by his own lack of courage under hostile fire...")
  • *The Spirituality of Extravagance

    by Mark Haverland
    ("I recall the day I came home from school and my snack was a large piece of pecan pie left over from the night before. I had settled down to enjoy this manna, when my mother called out from the front room: 'Glenn is coming up on his bicycle'. Glenn was my best friend, and I knew if he got in the front door before I got that pie down, it would have to be split in two. So I devoured the whole thing in seconds...")
  • Disqualification

    by Charles Hoffacker
    The game Disqualification is something we learn to play, or perhaps we don't learn to play. Recently I came across a newspaper story* about a St. Clair County resident who—thank God— has not learned to disqualify herself from giving. Her name is Krystal Teichow, she's ten years old, and she lives in Kimball Township. Krystal makes herself useful to others in several ways. She volunteers for the Humane Society and the American Cancer Society. But above all, what seems to have put her in the spotlight was a very simple yet very generous action she decided upon. She took her collection of Beanie Babies, sold them, and donated the money to the Autistic Society of Michigan. Krystal's generous nature caused her acting coach Ernest Werth to nominate her for the Millennium Dreamer's Awards. She was one of 2,000 children around the world to win this honor. She's somebody who knows how to dream and act on her dreams. Or, to put it differently, she refuses to play a game that's far too popular among adults and children, the game called Disqualification...
  • Subtraction and Multiplication

    by Charles Hoffacker
    ("News reports and columns and editorials have appeared from time to time about violence in youth sports. This is not violence committed by young athletes. The perpetrators are not children, but their parents. And so we hear that the National Association of Sports Officials now offers assault insurance to youth league referees and umpires...")
  • More Than Enough

    by Charles Hoffman
    ("I once read a poem that helps me anticipate Christ's response to Andrew on that day: 'Be gentle when you touch bread Let it not lie uncared for--unwanted So often bread is taken for granted There is so much beauty in bread...")
  • *The Heavenly Picnic

    by Donald Hoffman
    ("'Why is this night different from all other nights?' 'Avadim hayinu--we were slaves.' Every Passover Seder, a child is coached to ask the famous four questions: Why is this night different from all other nights? Other nights we can eat any kind of bread, this night only flatbread...")
  • *Ordinary 17B (2003)

    from Homilies Alive
    ("A stranger came by the other day with an offer that set me to thinking. He wanted to buy the old barn that sits out by the highway. I told him he was crazy. He was a city type, you could tell by his clothes, his car, his hands, and the way he talked. He said he was driving by and saw that beautiful barn sitting out in the tall grass and wanted to know if it was for sale...")
  • Bread and Words Are Good to Be Eaten

    by Rex Hunt
    In the cooking space nothing is allowed to remain the same. Things come in raw, as nature produced them. And they go out different, according to the demands of taste and pleasure. The raw must cease to exist for something different to appear. The hard must be softened. Smells and tastes which were dormant inside are forced to come out. Cooking is a magic kiss which wakes up sleeping pleasures. In a cooking space everything is a new creature. Everything is made anew. Mouth is the place of eating and drinking long before it is the place of speaking. Companions are those who eat bread and drink wine together. We are what we eat...
  • A Picnic on the Mountainside

    by Grace Imathiu
    ("A few years ago I served as pastor of Lavington Church in Nairobi. One day three young men came to my office. Although they were cheerful, they looked tired and wore out. Their tennis shoes were dusty and their clothes needed a wash. The first thing they asked when they came into my office was whether they could sing a verse of Amazing Grace in their language...")
  • Enough Is Enough

    by John Jewell
    ("How much is enough? According to the old saying, enough is enough. When you have enough of anything, it means you have an adequate supply. If it is money it means you have sufficient funds to pay the bills. If it is food, it means you have an ample amount for the number of people who are going to eat...")
  • Hungry, But Not for That

    by Beth Johnston
    "A little boy was in the doctor's office. The doctor took his light and looked in the little boy's eyes and said, 'I see Bugs Bunny in there'. The he looked in his ears and said, 'I see Mickey Mouse in there.'...") talk about their lives..." and another humorous illustration
  • Filling the Emptiness

    by Ben Manning
    ("Tony Campolo tells a story about a friend of his who had to take a bus trip across central India. He was in one of those old-model buses that should have been retired a decade ago; it was seemingly held together with string and glue. As is often the case with buses in Third World countries, this bus was packed..." and other illustrations)
  • Five Loaves and Two Fish

    by Edward Markquart
    ("We all have those old favorite stories that we share with our old favorite family and friends. When you get together with certain family members or friends, the conversation will get around to an old favorite story which begins with, “Do you remember that time when...")
  • More Than Enough

    by David Martyn
    "Just before the time of Jesus, 60 BCE, the poet Ovid wrote of long ago the 'earth...had better things to offer — crops without cultivation, fruit on the bough, honey in the hollow oak. no one tore the ground with ploughshares or parceled out the land or swept the sea with dipping oars -- the shore was the world’s end..."
  • *The Reality of Abundance

    by James McCrea
    ("There's a story about a 10-year-old boy who lost his left arm in a devastating car accident. In spite of that, he decided that he wanted to study judo, so his parents arranged to have him train under an old Japanese judo master...")
  • *Ordinary 17B (2006)

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    ("Some years ago, I knew a young woman, a teacher, who had originally come from a poor country and whose dearest wish in life was to be married and to have a large family. However, her first problem was that she couldn't find a good man. Apparently there is a widespread shortage of 'good' men...")
  • To Use Our Gifts

    by William Oldland
    ("I want to tell you a story about a man named Steve. Steve was a factory worker. He worked on the assembly line making cars. Steve was a pretty smart guy. He talked with his supervisor every day. He made suggestions about some things occasionally. His supervisor thought he showed good potential. So, he approached Steve and asked him to consider being a line chief....")
  • Little Is Much

    by Ray Osborne
    ("A number of years ago, I had the opportunity to play the character of Ronald McDonald for the McDonald's Corporation. My marketplace covered most of Arizona and a portion of Southern California. One of our standard events was 'Ronald Day'. One day each month, we visited as many of the community hospitals as possible..." and another illustration)
  • What Good Am I?

    from Our Daily Bread
  • Jackpots or Bread

    by John Pavelko
    ("The salesman confidently strolled into the pastor’s office wearing a three-piece suit and carrying a box of new Bible based board games.The newest game was called Dollars and Sense.Its design was a close resemblance to the well-known Monopoly. The salesman claimed that it was a great tool for teaching children...")
  • Making Do With What We Have

    by John Pavelko
    In 1997, Jessica Novak decided to offer her 5 loaves of bread. She was given an assignment to identify a problem somewhere in Africa and figure out a way of helping to solve it. She emailed a friend who was working with World Vision in Rwanda. The friend told her about the suffering of the children who had lost their parents during the genocide of 1994. The oldest children had become head of a household of brothers and sisters but had no means of supporting their siblings. The missionary explained that these children were desperately poor having lost their parents, their homes, and their land. World Vision was trying to obtain goats for these families so they could become more self-sufficient. Jessica decided to help. She organized a project—Kids for Kids, goats for Rwandan Children. The first year her fundraisers netted over $1500. The second year the amount grew to $3500. In 1999, an educational channel did a profile on Kids for Kids. It showed how a tiny project was helping children in Rwanda. Checks began to pour in and by the end of the year over $27,000 had been raised...
  • One More Drop

    by John Pavelko
    Sometimes I have heard people justify their non-response by saying, the problem is so big and complicated, my small donation would not help the situation at all. The hour a month that I could serve at the Hospitality House would only be a drop in the bucket. Someone once told Mother Teresa, “Don't you think that what you do is kind of a drop in the bucket?” She answered, “No, its a drop in the ocean. But if I didn't do it, it would be one less drop.”...
  • The Power to Serve

    by Coty Pinckney
    ("In the mid-1980's, Margaret Kimuyu had a good life by East African standards. Born into a reasonably well-off family, married to Peter, a university professor, with a good job herself, Margaret was part of the Kenyan middle-class. And Margaret knew the Lord; she was active in Nairobi Baptist Church, and had three lovely children. Increasingly severe headaches, however, disturbed this comfortable life...")
  • Miracles: Believe It or Not

    by Beth Quick
    ("Charlotte’s Web is about a pig named Wilbur who is the runt of his litter. He is saved from death by the pleadings of a young girl, Fern, who raises him herself. When he gets too big, he goes to live on a farm, where he again faces death – they want to eat Wilbur, if you can imagine such a crazy thing! He is saved by the handiwork of a spider named Charlotte...")
  • Getting the Sand Out of the Gears

    by William Self
    ("The bicycle was my ticket to freedom. Riding it with a pack of other boys on their bikes was sheer joy. One day after I had lubricated the chain and sprocket, we took a shortcut through a building site with nothing on it but sand and half-built houses. Now sand in south Florida has a life of its own...")
  • More Than Enough

    by Ozzie Smith
    ("The scene from this passage of the 6th chapter of John's Gospel reminds me of a scene from the movie Forrest Gump. When Forrest began to run and run and run, people began to follow Forrest. Perhaps they thought he knew where they were going. But Forrest ran and Forrest ran and the people followed...")
  • Whose Eyes?

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("I ran across a story of a ten year old girl from Kimball Township, Michigan, by the name of Krystal Teichow. Krystal is quite an impressive young lady. First of all, she volunteers for the Humane Society and the American Cancer Society. But that's not all. You see, she has a very generous nature..." and other short illustrations)
  • Andrew's Gift

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Peter Marshall, one of the famous preachers of the 40's described Andrew as the 'Saint of the Rank and File'. In one of his Sermons he said this: 'Most of us know nothing much about Andrew - except that he was Peter's brother, and one of the apostles. But we ought to know Andrew better than that, because we see him every day..." and another illustration)
  • God and Three Pennies

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Mother Teresa of Calcutta had a dream. She told her superiors, 'I have three pennies and a dream from God to build an orphanage.''Mother Teresa ,' her superiors chided gently, 'you cannot build and orphanage with three pennies..." and another illustration)
  • No Jet Ski for Jesus

    by Keith Wagner
    ("This past week was the 50th anniversary of the sinking of the Andrea Doria. Over 2,000 passengers and crew would parish unless help came. Many ships responded but the burden of responsibility borne by the master of a freighter, a tanker or a transport does not weigh as heavily as it does upon the captain of a passenger liner..." and other illustrations)
  • Not Just Any Sea Story

    by Keith Wagner
    ("In 1972 I was aboard the USS Saratoga, in the Gulf of Tonkin. It was hot, humid, and we often steamed through severe weather. I know what its like to be at sea in a typhoon with seas of over forty feet. I know the loneliness of being separated from your family by thousands of miles...")
  • Proper 12B (2006)

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("There is a tale of an old German schoolmaster who, when he entered his class of boys in the morning, used to remove his cap and bow ceremoniously to them. One asked him why he did this...")
  • Not Just Bread

    by Todd Weir
    ("I sat on the couch one night this week and turned on the television to relax and to watch the Mets play baseball. I realized that I had not watched any TV for almost a month and what I call my 'commercial immune system' had grown weak...")
  • What Are You Looking For?

    by William Willimon
    ("Recently, I had a woman come to my class who was a practitioner of something she called 'destructivist art'. Destructivist art involves, at least in her case, throwing hydrochloric acid on a canvas, while viewers watch the canvas rot due to the eating away of the canvas by the acid...")
  • Gifts in the Attic

    Carlos Wilton
    Use your gifts, don't store them away. Submitted by Carlos Wilton (Comments to carlos.wilton@ecunet.org). Also used in Fruits for the Lord.
  • Plenty of Grass

    by David Zersen
    ("A young man whom I had hired to work as a network supervisor returned to his native Tanzania to be married. The event was expected to be grand because his father was the bishop of the Lutheran Diocese on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. I was startled, however, to hear, in his retelling of the event after he had returned, that 5000 people were invited to the wedding!..." and another illustration)
  • Illustrations (Proper 12B)(2006)

    Compiled by Tim Zingale
  • Making Much of Little

    by Tim Zingale
    ("There was a man in England during the 1900's who also saw the power of Jesus to feed a group of people. The man was George Muller and he founded several orphanages which cared for as many as 2,000 children. One night Muller was informed that the supply of food was gone at one of the houses...")

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