Sermon for The Team Service at St Erme on 29th July 2018 by Rev Ellen Goldsmith


2Kings 4:42-end           Ps.145:10-19      Eph.3:14-end      Jn 6:1-21


I find today’s Readings a little uncomfortable ….

Have you ever been asked to be involved in feeding lots of hungry people with next to nothing?

Do I really think Paul has got it right when he writes,

‘Glory to him who by means of his power working in us is able to do immeasurably more than we can ever ask for, or even imagine?  immeasurably more? By his power?


Certainly in all the readings today there is something about God’s power:

The prophet Elisha was able to feed 100 hungry men with 20 barley loaves

Jesus fed 5000+ with five barley loaves – and fish too!

And the Psalmist revels in God’s might and his mighty acts.


I imagine the little boy in the story of the 5000 dined out quite a few times telling the story of Jesus’ miraculous power!

If you were to write a Psalm of praise, what things about God’s power would you want to include?  …..


I think my Psalm would be rather dull compared to some others.  I might include the occasion when a friend lost a contact lens ……

I’m sure we all have our own little stories – and it would be interesting to hear some of them.  But it would be wrong not to include some of the Big stories where God’s power has impacted on us:

Just as the Israelites often re-told the story of the Exodus and their freedom from slavery, so we can recount the huge benefits we have received from Jesus’ death and resurrection, his ascension and the giving of his Spirit at Pentecost.

Where would we be without these mighty acts?  

How easy it is to take them for granted! 


So perhaps it’s easy to sit back, and leave the future to God, if he is so powerful.

And I wonder if we have to do that more, because we so often get burdened with the idea that God can’t manage without us – actually he can!


Jesus didn’t need anyone to hold his hand as he walked on the water!  But the disciples would never forget that display of power, and they would remember that there was no need to be afraid of that power either. 

This would be important on the Day of Pentecost; 

they were obeying Jesus’s instruction after he had left earth, to wait to receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them; they were not to be afraid – for “it’s me”  we hear Jesus saying.  I’m coming to help you!  I am with you!  I am with you!


And this takes us back to ‘immeasurably more, by his power’.

For God is with us, working his power in and through us. 

Not always, but very often this is the way God chooses to put his power to work: 

he worked through Elisha who was helped by the bread-man; and

he worked through Jesus who was helped by the picnic-boy – and by the disciple, Andrew, the master of introductions.


Through them and through us he brings his healing and his help –  Bread of Life for the hungry.


The bread-man was Elisha’s servant, and in the Greek, the little boy is described as a servant too. 

And we know, of course, the description of Jesus, as the Suffering Servant.

So it must be part of our identity too – to serve the Lord Jesus and his people, in the power of his Holy Spirit.


Service and power are not opposites:  service is powerful; true power is shown through serving others; it carries its own weight and authority and purpose, because it comes from God’s Holy Spirit. 

And like Jesus’s power, it always comes with compassion and generosity and cooperation and never with force or control.


Did you notice that feeding 5000 hungry people provided a test for the disciples:  Jesus asked,

Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat? 

Philip despaired; Andrew just dared to wonder if the little they had might just help.

I think there is a test for us this morning: 

How can we let people know that Jesus is the Bread of life?

It will only be by the mighty acts of God that people will be served the Bread of Life -

and sometimes – perhaps tomorrow - he will ask for our cooperation to allow immeasurably more of his power to work within us and through us


for those who are dying of hunger.


A question:

Are you a Philip or an Andrew this morning?



Try writing a Psalm listing God’s mighty acts for you.


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