Matthew 14: 13-21

Illustrated New Resources

  • Jesus and the Economics of Scarcity

    by Grazina Bielousova
    That winter all my family had to eat was the potatoes we had grown in our garden, the eggs our chicken laid, and the milk we could get for close to nothing from our neighbors. In the wake of the Russian ruble crisis of 1998, the fledgling economy of Lithuania plunged into a freefall dive, leaving thousands unemployed, flailing in the waters of disaster capitalism. Meanwhile, my mother insisted upon taking a bagful of potatoes—from what in my eyes seemed like a rapidly dwindling supply—and bringing it to her friend on a weekly basis. “You keep doing that, and we will be gnawing on the trees in our yard by early spring,” I growled, my anxiety rising with every delivery. “If we don’t share what we have, what kind of people are we becoming?” my mom would respond, as she struggled with a heavy load of the precious spuds up the basement stairs. She knew what I was yet to learn. She was not just toting potatoes to her friend; she was also bringing back tall glass jars of sauerkraut that her friend made and shared with us. The bags and the jars traveled between our households like shuttles in the loom weaving our lives together...
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 13A)(2020)

    by Scott Hoezee
    We need food, we appreciate it. The crowds around Jesus on that long ago day as reported in Matthew 14 were no different. They were hungry, Jesus fed them and so he quickly rose in their estimation because of this miracle. And it was quite a stunning spectacle. This must have been an occasion of great wonder but also of great joy and hilarity. As the basket of bread and fish kept going and going without being depleted, waves of laughter must have accompanied it. By the time the basket got to the fiftieth person you can almost imagine his shouting back to the first person in line, “Hey, Sherman! Isn’t this the same fish you ate?!” As astonishment gave way to joy, as growling stomachs gave way to stuffed bellies, the people realized Jesus truly was a great man of God. Only the Creator himself could “play” with the very stuff of creation as to pull off this feat.
  • Can You Be Human Without the World?

    by Terrance Klein
    At dusk in the summer, it was not hard to catch a firefly in a Mason jar. Most kids could catch two, but then the challenge set in: keeping the pair inside the jar while you caught a third. Just as with grasshoppers, you punched holes in the lid of the jar and added grass or leaves so that the fireflies would feel at home and have something to eat. Then you would set the jar on your nightstand, imagining your collection of light growing ever larger. But the fireflies always died, didn’t they? They could not be so easily removed from their surrounding worlds...
  • Amazing Abundance

    by Jim McCrea
    •The Rev. Joe Parrish tells of a church in the middle of Manhattan where he used to work. That church operated one of the first soup kitchens in New York City and, as a result, it served enormous numbers of hungry people. At that time, the soap kitchen didn’t have a set director. Instead various members of the church would volunteer to take a turn organizing the program for a given number of days. On one Sunday, the lack of consistent leadership caught up with them. The woman who was the volunteer director that particular day had set her helpers to work, setting up the tables and chairs, and laying out the table service. When it came time to open, she suddenly realized — to her horror — that no one had been assigned to pick up bread for the meal and it was time to open the doors. It was too late to send anyone out for bread, so the director did the only thing she could think of — she asked all the volunteers to join hands and pray for a miracle — to pray that bread would somehow be delivered from somewhere for some reason or no reason at all. Almost exactly as their prayer was ending, the group heard a loud knocking on the door. The volunteers knew that hundreds of hungry people were lined up outside, impatiently waiting for the soup kitchen to open, so they assumed that the knocking was coming from one of their anxious clients. But it quickly become clear that the knocking was too persistent and too loud to be the clients. So one of the volunteers finally unlocked the door and looked out. It proved to be a group of firemen carrying several large, black plastic bags. When they were invited inside, they opened the bags and showed the soup kitchen workers that the bags were filled with all sorts of bakery items — Danish, French rolls and the like. In the context of that prayer, it was quite an amazing sight. The soup kitchen volunteers thanked the firemen profusely and went about putting the final touches on the meal. Everyone was fed that morning, and there were enough leftovers to give to the ones who wanted some food to take home for lunch. There was also enough for some who wanted to bring back food for their sick or disabled friends who weren’t able to get to the church for the meal. After the soup kitchen closed that day, someone went down to the firehouse to thank the firemen again for the food. The firemen said they had no idea what they were talking about. They hadn’t brought any food. So to this day, that Soup Kitchen group says that angels sometimes dress up like firemen!...
  • Ways with Leftovers

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    Contemporary artist Aliza Eliazarov crafted the photograph above. In the style of 17th-century Dutch still life painters, she arranged bread and fruits and greenery. If it is true that we eat first with our eyes, then Eliazarov's visually appealing composition is quite satisfying. The white fabric and the vibrant colors of the food (and the blue butterfly at the right), glow against the dark background. The rougher textures of the bread contrast with the smooth surfaces of the cherries. The simple background keeps the focus on the food. But this photo tells us more than the beauty of food. The photograph is from Eliazarov's series called "Waste Not." All the food in this photo was "rescued from curbside garbage in front of Caputo's Bakery and Union Market on Court Street - Cobble Hill, Brooklyn." Take another look at the photo and think about the fact that all of that food had been thrown away. These "leftovers" were thrown away.
  • Five Loaves, Two Fish and a Rack of Ribs

    by Solveig Nilsen-Goodin
    Every day, every night since George Floyd’s murder the crowds have gathered. Grieving. Raging. Speaking. Singing. Teaching. Mourning George Floyd and the countless deaths of black bodied human beings at the hands of the police and the systems of the state. Sometimes dozens, sometimes hundreds, sometimes thousands. In Portland, every day for 65 days now. And when the federal agents descended almost three weeks ago under the pretense of quelling the “riots taking over Portland,” thousands upon thousands more came out in defense of Black Lives, and in defense of the right to raise grievances with the government freely and without fear of state violence. The nights have been long. The risks have been great. And people have gotten hungry. On July 4, ten days or so before the Federal agents showed up, Lorenzo showed up at the protest downtown. Lorenzo, a former Black Panther, came with the intention of giving a speech at the protest and sharing some BBQ. He stayed until 8:00am the next morning. Through six rounds of tear gas. He thought he was going to die. But he did not die. Instead, Riot Ribs was born. For almost a month, a group of mostly houseless volunteers grilled ribs, hamburgers, brats, hot dogs. They served corn, watermelon, macaroni salad, potato salad and coleslaw. One night the federal agents and Portland Police raided their tents, opened up all their food bags, sprayed all their grills with pepper spray. Everything was destroyed. All the food had to be thrown out. That night…Riot Ribs was back! Donations poured in...
  • Something to Eat

    by Beth Quick
    Two of my favorite books are the Eight Cousins/Rose in Bloom set by Louisa May Alcott. They never gained the popularity of her Little Women series, but they are worth a read if you’re a fan of her writing. In the books Rose is a young woman trying to find her place in the world, trying to live as a thoughtful, ethical young woman, although she has a large fortune at her disposal, and although she is often tempted to spend her days attending parties and spend her money on the latest fashions. At one point in the story, she is feeling distraught and upset. The adults in her life have made some decisions that leave her feeling heartbroken. And in the midst of her anger and sadness, Rose remembers that her great aunt has always told her that when you’re feeling like this, the best way to move beyond your pain is to start serving others. So Rose decides to turn her pain into helping others. Through serving others, Rose is able to gain some perspective, and transform her own feelings into making a positive impact on her community. The pain and sorrow we experience in life is real, and hard. And we can’t always just “snap out of it.” Healing is important. But I believe serving others, loving others, showing compassion to others can be part of that healing. We heal better when we love others than when we are thinking only of our own needs. Offer your brokenness to God along with the rest of your heart, and God will use it to do miraculous things. Take, bless, break...
  • From Grief to Justice

    by Todd Weir
    Perhaps it was more like the somber procession by the casket of Emmitt Till, the 14-year-old black boy who was brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1955 after being accused of offending a white woman. These moments of grief and anguish are powerful. Sometimes when we plumb the depths, we end up not with despair and desolation, but with courage and determination. When Mamie Till Bradley brought her son’s body home to Chicago, she insisted on an open casket, so everyone could see the brutality of racist violence. In August of 1955, tens of thousands came to the funeral and processed by the mutilated body of Emmitt Till. By December of 1955, people were marching in Montgomery, Alabama, walking to work to boycott segregated buses, and young Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. emerged as a new leader. Shared grief creates energy for change. It can shatter us, but it can also make us say, “no more.”...

Other New Resources

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. Hopefully, members will have the ability to rate all of the resources on a 5-point system soon!! FWIW!!]
  • Sermons on the Eucharist

    from the Archives
  • On Using God's Gifts

    Sermons from the Archives
  • Jesus the Host

    by Christopher Burkett
    ("The questions this story provokes in me are important because they are similar to those that are often asked about the worship of the church: Why come to church? What happens in the Eucharist that makes any difference to us today? The first thing we must realise when we come to the Eucharist is that it can have no relevance if we are not 'hungry'...")
  • A Gut-Wrenching Gathering

    by D. Mark Davis
    (includes lots of Greek exegesis!!)
  • Stop Waiting for Bread (or Fish) to Fall from the Sky

    by Isak Dinesen, from Babette's Feast
  • Loaves and Fishes

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("One Sunday CBS ran a piece on their Sunday Morning program about an eighty-year old woman, Maisie de Vore, who was determined to build a city swimming pool for the kids in her town. She did it by going around picking up aluminum cans and selling them...." and other illustrations)
  • The Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("After months of hard work and years of saving, the day came for Reb and Jackay to open their own restaurant. All that was needed was the final health inspection and the issuing of their business permit. That was scheduled for first thing that morning; then 'Our Place', as they called their restaurant would be in business..." and other illustrations)
  • What Would Jesus Do?

    by Sil Galvan
    ("Every month, the caretaker of a cemetery received a check from a woman named Mrs. Wilson who was an invalid in a hospital in a nearby city. The money was to be used to buy fresh flowers for the grave of her son, who had been killed in an automobile accident a couple of years before...")
  • R.O.I.

    from Homiletics Online
    ("When Dave Thomas died of liver cancer at the age of 69 last winter, America lost one of its favorite pitchmen. Dave, like the burgers he served, was square -- but there. He was an ordinary guy, the type of middle-aged, mild-mannered guy you might expect to see behind the counter at any one of the 6,000 Wendy's stores...")
  • Proper 13A

    by Bill Loader
    always good insights!
  • A Turning Point

    by Adeline Perkins
    (An Illustration on "God Will Provide") ("Seventy years ago I was quite a small little girl, the baby of the family, with an older brother and sister. My father was very ill at the time, and my mother took in sewing of any kind so we could live...")
  • A Feast of Plenty in the Face of Death

    by Andrew Prior
    (includes several quotes)
  • Exegetical Notes (Matthew 14.13-21)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (excellent exegesis)
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Ordinary 18A)

    by Various Authors
    ("Charles Swindoll tells a funny story about a nine-year-old named Danny who came bursting out of Sunday school like a wild stallion. His eyes were darting in every direction as he tried to locate either mom or dad. Finally, after a quick search, he grabbed his Daddy by the leg and yelled, 'Man, that story of Moses and all those people crossing the Red Sea was great!'..." and lots of other stuff!!)

Illustrated Resources from 2017 to 2019

  • He Felt Compassion

    by Dan Clendenin
    To have com–passion, to "suffer together" or have sympathy, to "open your heart or bowels" to someone, isn't just a feeling. In the New Testament, compassion is the divine response to human suffering. In the gospel this week, Jesus has compassion and then feeds the hungry. Other occurrences of the word describe his compassion for the scared father of the sick son, the two blind men, and the widow of Nain. The master who forgives the debt of his slave, the waiting father of the prodigal son, and, most famously, the good Samaritan, all "had compassion."
  • Face Time… Out of Joint

    by Peter Haynes
    There is a scene in the movie, Forrest Gump, in which “Lieutenant Dan” wrestles with God. Years earlier, he had been leader of a platoon in Vietnam in which this simple man named Forrest was a private. Lieutenant Dan’s family had a long history of valor in battle, many of whom fell bravely. Dan’s legs are blown off in a firefight, and Forrest carries him to safety, despite Dan’s protest to leave him there to die with honor. Later on, Lieutenant Dan is an angry man with no legs, hating the one who saved him. And yet, he joins Forrest in his shrimp business. And there, on Forrest’s boat at sea during a hurricane, Lieutenant Dan climbs the mast and faces the wind of God and rails against his Creator... After the storm, it seems like Dan has wrestled a blessing from God, for he is finally at peace with himself…
  • More Than Enough: Twelve Baskets Full

    by Janet Hunt
    Six months ago or so the congregation I serve was gifted with a house. The one who gave it no longer had need of it and wanted it to go to good use. And so we received it with joy for we were preparing for the arrival of an intern pastor who would need housing. Now the house was solid, but it hadn’t been updated in quite some time. On a first walk through one could easily become overwhelmed by all that had to be done. Indeed, one might have even shared the skepticism of the disciples in Matthew’s Gospel when they wondered how all those people would be fed with so little. But here is what happened...
  • Getting Out of the Boat

    by Erica Lloyd
    I have lived in Haiti for nearly four years, but I’ve only recently started to understand that grieving is a part-time job there – one that you’re not allowed to quit – even if you weren’t really aware that it was a job you had applied for; even if you’re not properly qualified or equipped for it; even if you really don’t want to be in that particular line of work anymore. A trip to the grocery store requires navigating a maze of suffering: street kids jumping into traffic to earn spare change washing car windows; amputees, who lost legs and arms in the 2010 earthquake, hobbling through the intersection on crutches; women carrying buckets of water because they have no indoor plumbing. One of the things that is hardest about Haiti is also what I appreciate about it most: you can’t NOT see the suffering; you cannot pretend the world is okay...
  • Boy with a Bento Box?

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    The elements of the meal are present in Dutch artist Johnny Beerens' mural in Breskens. Five loaves and two fish, all neatly arranged in a silo-sized bento box. Probably the boy in the story did not bring his lunch in this fashion, but the orderly arrangement has been placed with great care and effect into the architectural elements of the building. The subject matter does, of course, call to mind the gospel story of loaves and fishes. But the setting of the work takes the subject farther.
  • Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

    by Matt Skinner
    As Jack Nicholson’s distraught character Melvin Udall says in a film’s titular moment: “What if this” -- our lives marked by brokenness, frustrated expectations, and dissatisfaction -- actually “is as good as it gets?” What if Jesus’ miraculous feeding, what if God’s endorsement of embodied humanity’s dignity, and what if our hope for fulfillment all function only to show us what we lack? What if they only make us realize how far we have to go or how helpless we are in our current moment? What if they make us feel like we are settling for too little in the face of a biblical text that stirs our longings for maximum satisfaction?
  • Jesus and the Poor People's Campaign

    by Liz Theoharis
    this Bible story resonates with the Poor People’s Campaign that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King launched at the end of his life. In December 1967, he said: The dispossessed of this nation - the poor, both white and Negro - live in a cruelly unjust society. They must organize…against the structures through which the society is refusing to take means which have been called for, and which are at hand, to lift the load of poverty…There are millions of poor people in this country who have very little, or even nothing, to lose. If they can be helped to take action together, they will do so with a freedom and a power that will be a new and unsettling force in our complacent national life. Beginning in the New Year, we will be recruiting three thousand of the poorest citizens from… different urban and rural areas to initiate and lead a sustained, massive, direct action movement... Those who choose to join this initial three thousand, this non-violent army, this 'freedom church' of the poor, will work with us…to develop non-violent action skills.
  • The Bottomless Basket

    by David Sellery
    Where we see scraps, he creates abundance. Where we see emptiness and depression, he creates fulfillment and boundless joy. He is the bread of life. And in Christ, that life is abundant. The hungry crowd did not need to come back for seconds. They were filled to satisfaction and there was enough left over for doggy bags… twelve baskets worth. What a perfect analogy for God’s love. Out of scarcity comes the endless buffet, the bottomless basket.

Illustrated Resources from 2014 to 2016

  • The Call of Compassion

    by Tom Cox
    ("One of the lesser known posts in the Vatican is the centuries old post of Papal Almoner who is responsible for handing out alms or papal charity. Pope Francis appointed a trusted archbishop, Konrad Krajewski, and told him to sell his desk and not wait for the phone to ring. "You need to go and look for the poor." Each day a Vatican gendarme brings to Lodz native Krajewski a bundle of letters that the Pope has received appealing for help...")
  • Enough!

    by Emily Heath
    ("When I was a college and seminary student in Atlanta there were two churches, both from the same mainline denomination, located on opposite ends of town. One church was very small. It only had about 35 active members, and it was located in a neighborhood that for years had been down and out. And for the life of them, no one could tell how that church managed to stay open year after year...")
  • On Loaves and Fishes and Parking Spaces

    by Janet Hunt
    ("I'm wondering about the guy at the back of the crowd. The one who hardly knows why he is there. There is no big screen projection to give him a sense of what is going on down front. Jesus has no way to amplify his voice for the blessing of those five loaves and two fish. He's only hearing what's going on because the one in front of him is telling him. In fact, he may never fully comprehend or appreciate the actual source of the meal he is enjoying...")
  • Humans Have a Hunger

    by Terrance Klein
    ("Humans have a hunger, which they do not share with any other creature on earth. It's a craving for meaning. All animals find sustenance in the world, but we alone require something else of it. We need the world to be purposeful. That's at the core of what it means to be human, or, as we like to say, to have a soul: to want something of the world...")
  • Overflowing Generosity

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("I found this poem which seems to capture the essence of the generosity which runs through our readings today. 'The bits left over, What of those? Pieces left strewn around, no longer required. A plethora of scraps yet Christ leaves none discarded but calls for all to be gathered in, saved and treasured. Baskets filled with an extravagance- excess cherished. Symbolism that can only be imagined. A hungry crowd, a boys packed lunch. A great big picnic. People fed and still enough to go on sharing the blessing abundance, and grace of God...")
  • More Than Enough

    by Nancy Rockwell
    ("In the new Polish film Ida, a Jewish baby is saved by being given to a convent to raise, and she chooses to become a nun, but is required first to go and meet her one remaining relation, an aunt who is a lawyer and a judge and an atheist, after all that happened. The aunt, quite broken in spirit and a heavy drinker, gives the young woman what memories she can, using alcohol to bear the pain, and reaching for the joy buried in the sorrow...")
  • Reflections on Death

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("I recommend C. S. Lewis' book, The Great Divorce, which is one of the finest and most readable treatises ever written on Christian death and the afterlife. He comes at it as an Anglican, but is equally sympathetic to both the Protestant and the Roman Catholic traditions. He stresses the continuity between this life and the next and sets this into a wonderful theology of God, grace, and the communion of saints..." and another quote from Karl Rahner)
  • When "Vocation" and "Vacation" Are One

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("If you want to guarantee you will never win public office or be appointed to public service, just say these words: 'America is no longer the greatest nation in the world'. It used to be the US led the world in almost any category you could think of. But in the past 50 years we've fallen to 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, number four in labor force, number four in exports...")
  • Easting Our Burdens

    by Keith Wagner
    ("In the Sidney Daily News several years ago there was an interesting article about a man named Bill Dodd. He was a 1967 graduate of Sidney High School who went to Harvard to acquire an education. But, while at Harvard he was wrestling with the Vietnam crisis and the fact that his very best friend was serving in Vietnam. After two semesters Dodd left college because, 'It didn't feel right at the time,' he said...")

Illustrated Resources from 2008 to 2013

  • Do You Believe in Miracles?

    by John Bedingfield
    Dr. H. King Oehmig tells a story of the time that a church congregation from Cartersville, Georgia wanted to begin a Habitat for Humanity group. It was in the early days of Habitat, so the group went to Americus, Georgia to meet with Millard Fuller, the founder of Habitat for Humanity. The group toured the Habitat facilities and saw a presentation on how groups operate. Them Mr. Fuller took time from his busy schedule to go and talk to this group. During the course of their conversation, one of the folks from Cartersville said, “Mr. Fuller, we think this is what God’s calling us to do. But before we begin, how much money do you think we should have in the bank to get us off the ground?” Fuller leaned toward the man and in a very low and serious voice told him, “It would be wholly irresponsible, completely negligent, totally feather-brained if you started an affiliate without at least one dollar. But you have to have one dollar. Don’t dare make a move without it!” King Oehmig says that that day, the Cartersville group learned, “as the disciples discovered with Jesus that evening, when He told them to feed the masses themselves – … that faced with the Gospel imperative, we were searching for a reasonable alternative to faith.” Just like modern America searches for a reasonable alternative to a miracle...
  • Come to the Water

    by Phil Bloom
    ("The story is told about four men adrift on the Atlantic Ocean near the equator. They were so thirsty that they were trying to squeeze moisture from the pieces of canvas on their small lifeboat...")
  • Withdrew to Deserted Place

    by Phil Bloom
    ("An old news story tells about four men adrift on the Atlantic Ocean near the equator. They became so thirsty that they tried to squeeze moisture from the pieces of canvas on their small lifeboat. When rescuers finally arrived, the men lay prostrate from dehydration. After gradually reviving them, the rescuers informed the men of an incredible irony...")
  • Ordinary 18A (2008)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time there was a young woman who had become very scrupulous about the Eucharist. She was afraid that the priest was careless about distributing Communion and permitted tiny bits of the host fall on the floor around the altar rail...")
  • Preaching Helps (Proper 13A)(2008)

    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...")
  • Table of Plenty

    by Kate Huey
    (includes several good quotes)
  • Our Mentality of Scarcity Among God's Abundance

    by Dan Matthews
    ("The Wall Street Journal ran an article some months ago describing the fastest growing business in America today: the development and the construction of mini warehouses, these small storage facilities that you see in every town and in every city...")
  • God Will Provide

    by Robert Morrison
    ("I got an e-mail this week, with several photographs, from my friend, Scott Fisher in Fairbanks, Alaska. His pictures showed the river Chena running at such a flood stage that the bicycle paths were under water...")
  • Miracles for the Onlys of Life

    by John Pavelko
    ("The Saturn boosters roared at ignition lifting the Apollo spacecraft off the launch pad and into orbit. Less than a year had passed since Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins had first stepped foot on the moon. The three major TV stations did not even broadcast the launch...")
  • Enough

    by Jan Richardson
    ["I know how small this blessing seems; just a morsel that hardly matches the sharp hunger you carry inside you. But trust me when I say— though I can scarcely believe it myself— that between and behind and beneath these words there is a space where a table has been laid a feast has been prepared all has been made ready for you and it will be enough and more...."]
  • Finger Foods

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("Sticks, forks, fingers: the three ways people of the world eat their food. The majority today still use fingers, as has been the case throughout history. In fact, forks were unknown until the 10th century. Knives and spoons only appear in 5th the century. Jesus ate with his fingers...")
  • More Than Enough

    by Keith Wagner
    ("One time three young men were each given three kernels of corn by a wise man. He admonished the men to go into the world and use the corn to bring themselves good fortune. The first young man put his three kernels of corn into a bowl of hot broth and ate them...")
  • The Fish and the Loaves

    by Timothy Zingale
    ("A man owned a little grocery store. It was the week before Christmas, when a tired-looking woman came in and asked for enough food to make a Christmas dinner for her small family. The grocer asked her how much she could spend. 'My husband did not come back; he was killed in the War and I have nothing to offer but a little prayer,' she answered...")

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • HIC

    by Stephen Bouman
    ("I was standing behind an altar in a small crypt chapel of the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth in the Holy Land, the place where Mary heard that she was going to have a baby. I looked down and saw familiar words carved into the altar in Latin, Verbum caro factum est...")
  • God's Abundance

    by Barbara Bundick
    ("On Thursday, Lemont Brown, the lead character in the comic strip Candorville, decided to look himself up on the internet. He typed in the words, Lemont Brown and waited with a smile...")
  • Best Laid Plans

    by Tom Cox
    ("Maybe we need to do an audit. Not a financial one but to see how much we really do have and to realize that how often when we give of our time, talent and, yes, our treasure, – there is always more left over...")
  • The Real Miracle

    by Tom Cox
    ("Consider this... If a dead man is raised to life, all would spring up in astonishment. Yet every day babies are born, and no one wonders. It is a greater thing by far to create life from nothing than to restore life...")
  • Ordinary 18A (1999)

    by Mary G. Durkin
    ("Once upon a time there was a family that loved to celebrate. Originally, they just used to celebrate family birthdays with a special dinner and cake and ice cream...")
  • Our Five Loaves and Two Fish

    by Ernest Munachi Ezeogu, CSSP
    ("Jamieson, a prosperous and God-fearing farmer, is praying with his son one night at bedtime. Jamieson says to his son 'Let us pray for that poor man who lives down the road, that the good Lord may come to his aid.'...")
  • Where Are Your Loaves and Fishes?

    by Arthur Ferry, Jr.
    ("A 13-year-old boy once read about Dr. Albert Schweitzer's work in Africa. He wanted to help. He had enough money to buy one bottle of aspirin. He wrote to the Air Force and asked if they could fly over Dr. Schweitzer's hospital and drop the bottle down to him. A radio station broadcast the story about this young fellow's concern for helping others...")
  • Being Bread

    Poetic Sermon by Frank Fisher
    ("Once there was a small field of grain; a field owned, sown, and carefully tended by the a loving Creator. The field was blessed by the sun and gently watered by the gentle rains. It had rich black soil in which to grow its crops...")
  • Miracle Whip

    by Justin K. Fisher
    ("Lately there’s been a classy little ad on TV featuring a dog that’s making a sandwich, a super-duper kind of sandwich with bread, meat, cheese, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, onions, pickle, etc. As he nears completion of his culinary masterpiece, he searches the refrigerator over for the jar...")
  • Divine Abundance

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("Someone once had the bright idea of writing a book containing God’s personal diary. At one point in this diary God gives his thoughts on abortion and this is what he supposedly wrote, "I’m against it (abortion). I’m for babies, lots of babies, all colours and sizes and shapes...")
  • Ordinary 18A (2005)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time a group of young hikers were wandering through dense woods. They were singing and having a grand time. As the sun begin to go down, some of them got worried...")
  • Ordinary 18A (2002)

    by Andrew Greeley
    "Once upon a time in the 1960’s, a group of Holy Ghost Fathers from Limerick, Ireland were stationed in Biafra where war and famine were raging. When they recognized that without some outside assistance, most of the citizens would die, they sent a message home to their family and friends in Limerick 'People are starving; send food'..."
  • Ordinary 18A (1996)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once a mother took a course in cooking pastries. She learned how to make the most delightful sweet rolls and cakes and pies and torts and fancy French goodies which would make your mouths water when you saw them...")
  • When You Have No More to Give

    by Rona Harding
    ("It is always easier to excuse ourselves from life, rather than to live it to the full. An illustration of this is about Abraham Lincoln who during the height of the Civil War often took refuge at a Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. He would go with an aide, sit with his stovepipe hat in his lap, and never interrupt the meeting because the congregation would all be in a dither if they knew the president had come to sit in that midweek service...")
  • And All Ate...And Were Filled

    by Peter Haynes
    ("I loved how Mennonite comedians Ted and Lee recreated this meal at National Youth Conference the other week. Portraying disciples Andrew and Peter, they headed out among the youth and collected all sorts of food - mostly snack items, i.e. skittles, gum, pretzels...")
  • You Give Them Something to Eat!

    by John Jewell
    ("A youth pastor I know, wanted to teach his confirmation class what it means to live as a homeless person. He arranged a well planned, carefully thought out 'cardboard village' which was to be built in a village park. The young people would spend a day and night in the village...")
  • Let Jesus Feast With You

    by Tommy Lane
    ("NASA, the American Space Agency, did some experimenting with a special type of camera that could see the energy levels in the human body. This is then seen on a monitor. This energy shows up as an aura around the body...")
  • Feeding the Masses

    by Paul Larsen
    ("Tony Campolo, a dynamic and popular speaker, was to give an address to a women's conference. These women were being challenged to go out and raise several thousand dollars for a mission project..." and other illustrations)
  • Hungry People

    by David Leininger
    ("I was intrigued by a letter to Ann Landers from an adolescent in response to one sent by someone who lived through the Depression and had described how hard it was to be a teenager in the 1930's. The message was that kids today have an easy time of it compared to teens in his day. Listen to the young respondent...")
  • 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...")
  • Helping Hurting People

    by Ray Osborne
    ("Nine-year-old Danny came bursting out of Sunday school like a wild stallion. His eyes were darting in every direction as he tried to locate either mom or dad. Finally, after a quick search, he grabbed his Daddy...")
  • Proper 13A (2002)

    by Joe Parrish
    ("The person lying in the hospital bed looked very wan and weak. Only four days before she was hale and hearty and chatty, and my heart was broken to think she could die after surviving the most unbelievable catastrophe I had ever seen or heard of...")
  • The Greatest Miracle of All

    by John Pavelko
    ("The river was smooth with a steady current but after six or seven miles, the girls rounded a bend and heard the thunderous sound of rapids. Caught by the strong current and confident of their river skills the troop 'shoots the rapids' with the confidence of wilderness explorers...")
  • Where Are Your Riches?

    Quote from Oscar Romero
    ("The world does not say: 'blessed are the poor'. The world says: 'Blessed are the rich. You are worth as much as you have'. But Christ says: 'Wrong. Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, because they do not put their trust in what is so transitory.'...")
  • Miracle of the Loaves and Picnic Baskets: Uncounted Women Make World Food Go Round

    by Rosemary Radford Ruether
    "He recalled a time when his father, 'thin as a rail', had gone off into the countryside to search for food for the family and finally returned with many pounds of meat, peas and potatoes..."
  • Give Them Something Yourselves

    by Ron Saunders
    ("One night a man took a little candle out of a drawer, lit it, and began to ascend a long winding staircase. 'Where are you going?' said the candle. 'Higher than the top of the house where we sleep,' said the man...")
  • A Little Goes A Long Way

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("A little baby turtle, no bigger than a coaster, plodded over to this massive oak tree. It looked up at the daunting height of the tree for a minute, took a deep breath and then proceeded to climb the tree. It hooked its little feet in the bark of that oak tree and little by little it grunted and groaned and pushed and pulled until it reached the first limb on that tree...")
  • Real Miracles: I Remember

    by Steve Taylor
    ("I remember the man, as he took the cup of soup, only one cup for so many hungry mouths, and he passed it among his homeless brothers, those who were like him, those who also lived on the street. Many passed by and looked upon the crowd of dirty and rumpled and beaten wanderers as if they had some social disease!...")
  • Loaves and Fishes

    Narrative Sermon by Pamela Tinnin
  • You Feed Them

    Narrative Sermon by Pamela Tinnin
  • Sorry, We Ran Out

    by Keith Wagner
    ("In the book Chicken Soup for a Woman's Soul, Edgar Bledsoe tells the story about his childhood. They were very poor. It was 1933, during the Great Depression, and he had lost his job. The only income their family had was what his mother could make doing dressmaking. Unfortunately his mother became ill and unable to work...")
  • I Love a Mystery

    by Woodie White
    ("My earliest images and world view were formed by radio. I grew up in what was called the heyday of radio. All across America, in that period, persons huddled around a pictureless box. Families and groups of children and young people had their special times to gather and to listen - not look at - their favorite programs...")
  • Extravagance

    by William Willimon
    ("Let's ask Jane to take on this job,' said one of the members of the planning committee. 'Jane always does such a good job on anything she undertakes.' Widespread agreement in the group. I, as her pastor, said, Now, do you really think this is fair to Jane? Jane already has two or three jobs in the church'...")
  • Proper 13A (2005)

    by Tim Zingale
    ("When I decided to go to seminary it was a leap of faith. Wanda and I were teaching in her home town, but we left with neither of us having a job and went to Dubuque to Wartburg Seminary...")

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