All Day Preaching and Dinner on the Grounds

Theme: Jesus Feeds 5000 - Proper 12 (17) Year B
Object: A Picnic Basket or other item representing food
Scripture: When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." John 6:1-15 (NIV)

When I was a child, going to church on Sunday was sometimes and all day affair. You see, in the church where I grew up, we sometimes had what we called, "All Day Preaching and Dinner on the Grounds." On that Sunday, most people came to church carrying a big picnic basket like this one I have today. After we had Sunday School and preaching, we went outside and had dinner on the church lawn. Oh what a feast! There was fried chicken, mashed potatoes, fresh vegetables from the garden, and home-made cakes and pies of every kind you can imagine. After dinner, the adults gathered around and sang hymns and the children played games. Some of my best memories of childhood are those Sundays when we had "All day preaching and dinner on the grounds."

That reminds me of something that happened to Jesus and his disciples one day. They got into a boat and sailed across a lake. When they reached the other side, they went up onto the side of a mountain and sat down to rest. But when Jesus looked, he saw a great crowd of people coming toward him. They wanted Jesus to teach them and heal the sick. So, that is exactly what he did. He healed the sick and taught the people about the kingdom of heaven.

Soon it was time to eat. Jesus asked one of the disciples whose name was Philip, "Where can we buy enough bread to feed all of these people?"

Philip answered, "Eight months wages wouldn't buy enough bread for each person to have one little bite!"

Andrew, another one of the disciples, spoke up,"Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"

Jesus told the disciples bring him the loaves and fish and to tell everyone to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the loaves and fish and looked up to heaven and gave thanks. He then gave the food to the disciples to give to the people.

Was it enough? It was more than enough! The Bible tells us that when everyone had eaten as much as they wanted, he told his disciples to gather up what was left over. I'm sure you know what happened. They gathered up enough food to fill twelve baskets!

Maybe it would be a good idea if more churches today went back to having "All day preaching and dinner on the grounds." It could be a good reminder to us that when we come to Jesus, his blessing is enough. No, it is more than enough.

Heavenly Father, we praise you for your goodness. You give us all that we need and more. We thank you in Jesus' name. Amen.

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