WHAT DO YOU BRING TO THE PICNIC?

 

Did I mention that I had a wee sports car?

Great for picnics…

Hood down…off to Abbotsford…

Picnic under the trees by the Tweed…

Living the dream, my dears,

Living the dream!

That was last year…

 

Picnic season sort of bypassed me this year…

Somehow too busy…

 

Shame really cos i| do have a

a whole range of picnic baskets for all occasions…

Little intimate picnic for two…cute!

Family size one…

Slightly funky shaped one…for tall bottles…

Rather ugly modern plastic one…

With ice pack thingy…

..

 

They’ve changed over the years of course…

Much more sophisticated affairs…

Jammy piece and a bottle of American Cream Soda…

Flask of Tea

Salad?

Cold chicken with mayonnaise…

I dinna hink sae..

 

=

If we were to have a picnic …

So what have we got….

Sandwiches…

Drinks

Flask?

Picnic rug…

Umbrella…

Biscuits…shortbread

Fruit

Salad…

Yoghurt for pudding…

Crisps

 

Maybe different things on the sandwiches…

What would be your choice?

 

So what do you bring to the picnic?

                         What do you bring to the picnic….?

All bring something…

Something to add to the mix

Something to freshen things up…

Something to share…

--

Wee boy brought his loaves and fishes to the picnic…

Tasty…

Bit of a tuna mayo man myself!

-

But, listen… what if he had held on to it…

Kept quiet about it…

Kept it all for himself…

What if he had said…

I’m alright mate… I’ve got mine…

tough luck on the rest of you…

No feast…

No miracle…

No change…

No joy…

 

And what if all the people with things to bring to the picnic

Keep them to themselves …

 

It’s my time…I’m not going to give it up to run this group or that…

It’s my money…I’m not going to give it to fund this initiative this new idea or that…

It’s my skill…I’m just going to use it to keep me comfortable…and not make it available where it might do some good…

It’s my right to welcome someone or not…so I’ll just keep that to myself…hold on to it…cling on to it…so that new person will keep feeling like a stranger…

It’s my house…I’m not going to open it to other people in the ministry of hospitality…

 

What if all the people with something to bring to the picnic…kept their gift…their talent…their ability…their unique life-changing quality to themselves…in their picnic basket…

 

·        Nothing would get done..

·        Nothing would get better…

·        Nothing would be achieved …

 

The truth is …God can do miracles

With our gifts…however small and insignificant they might seem to us…God can use who we are…

What we do…

He can take what we bring…

 

 

AND

It doesn’t matter what you bring to him,

He can do miracles with it.

That’s the good news!

 

Whatever it is we bring to him

·        Our searching

·        Our brokenness

·        Our weakness

·        Our talents

Our need

 

He blesses it.

 

When we bring our daily WORK

 

the meaning of what we do is transformed

From “something we do for money”

“Something we do for status”

“Something we do because we have to”

And it becomes

a holy place

an opportunity to share in building the kingdom

our calling

our service to God.

And suddenly the ordinary,

the menial

the routine

is injected with meaning,

because it has been given to him:

offered to him.

And he blesses it:

sanctifies the workplace

and changes our own view

of what it is we do through work.

++

HOME

 

When we bring him our home life,

it becomes a sacred experience

Rather than just “what you do.”

Parenting a sacred trust:

love and marriage a holy gift:

a whole new way of seeing the commonplace

so that it becomes

the holy place.

 

When we bring who we are, and what we do

He blesses those things

and injects the ordinary

with sacredness.

++

Whatever we bring him,

he can do miracles with it.

++

And who ever we are…

He can do miracles with what we bring…

 

CHILDREN

 

Children

can bring an open and inquiring mind.

He can use that to sow the seeds of faith

that bear fruit in later years:

to lay the ground works of faith,

instilling a sense of the holy

and an awareness that there is more

than “us” - and more than here and now.

Children can teach us that.

We need to encourage nurture and accept that…

Not let it dominate

But set it free, nonetheless…

++

TEENAGERS

 

Restless teenagers

hungry for change…

well aware that

The greatest threat to the church

is inertia”

that refusal to budge

to change,

to innovate,

to move on,

that energy….

when they give it to Him,

can be harnessed and used,

to shake up complacency

and take the church to new places…

to give the vision and the courage

to try new things

say the old things is a fresh way.

That’s why we have to listen.

Welcome and encourage…

 

 

BUSY YEARS

 

When we bring the exhausting years of our lives -

when work and home and family

and ageing parents

seem to sap our energy

and crowd our life to bursting point,

he can work his miracles there,

taking our tiredness to his heart,

affirming our worth

and sharing the load.

++

It’s when we forget

that he is able to do that

that we end up scurrying around

and losing touch

with the well-spring of refreshment and support.

 

He wants our burdens to be shared with him:

the honest truth of our emptiness

to be brought to him…

 

When we seek out his strength

and his transforming power,

He can do something with us and for us.

He can take the simple reality of our

“ Having nothing left in the tank”

and heal, strengthen and encourage.

 

That’s what he does.

Miracles with loaves and fishes.

Miracles with us.

Taking a little nothing -

and making a something from it.

++

MATURITY

 

And when we bring the maturity of our experience,

and the length of our years,

and the long faithful service of our love to him,

he can use that powerful resource

to work change in the world.

Wisdom combined with vision and laced with faith

is a powerful tool in the hands of God

++

And when in riper years

we find, with early retirement patterns,

and freedom from commitments and pressing responsibilities,

when we bring that gift of time and experience

to him

this is a dynamic and creative combination…

And sometimes when that plateau of maturity is reached

we find we have greater freedom with our resources.

Our home can be an open house.

Our money can be a liberating resource…that makes things happen…enables doors to be opened, new possibilities to be considered because we see our money differently now…

Our time can give an availability we never dreamt possible

when we used to be too busy to think.

++

Whatever we bring, and in our worship we bring so many things:

Our songs – our prayers – our listening…  our voice that the teacher told us years ago sounded like a crow…we bring it and he loves to hear it…

Our stumbling words and our uncertainties…

He can take those rough-edged things

and make something fine and beautiful from them…

+=

 

But that only works

When we do actually bring those things to him…

If the little lad had held on to what he had

either out of possessiveness, or a mistaken thought

that this little trifle would be of no use to the Master…

There would be no story

No miracle to savour.

++

When we clutch our problems tight in our hands

or cling possessively to our prerogatives

the miracle dies.

It just never happens.

When we come –

just as we are

with all that we have

no illusions

but also no holding back-

just wait

and see what God can do.

==

+++

I got to go there once…

Where it happened…

The feeding of the big crowd.

Not hard to imagine it…

--

So, they count the people:

More than five thousand of them.

How do you feed that lot?

=

They look at what they have

Five mealy loaves

Two measly fishes

And they ask the mocking question, the logical question:

“What are they among so many?”

=

And the answer comes

“Enough!”

=

And twelve baskets of left-overs later

The answer

“Actually, as it happens, more than enough!”

=

Our Lord does miracles with bread and fishes…

Takes the apparently inadequate resources

And makes

Not just sufficiency

But abundance!

--

What are these among so many?

Enough!

More than enough!

-

The Church… its glory days seemingly gone;

many of its vast costly building held together by hope

Its membership statistics in near free-fall

Its leadership in crisis

The church

Looks at the multitude of tasks facing it

Looks at the seemingly meagre resources at its disposal

And asks, desperately,

“What are these among so many?

=

The miracles of bread and fishes

Remind us

Assure us

That meagre as they seem

They are enough!

More than enough!

=

The Church, by the grace of God

And in the power of Christ

Can fulfil its calling

Complete its tasks…

-

The Church nationally

The Church locally

The individual Christian

Can – through the power and grace of God

do the job to which they are called.

There is a world to serve….

 

===

And that world needs us to love…

Whether it is in face of the global crises of AIDS and poverty

Or the endless calls upon our compassion from needing people

In our communities and cities:

Or simply the old neighbour,

Or frail relative

There is an ocean of need

for the kind of loving to which the Church is called…

=

And in face of this

We look into our own heart

And we wonder if we are up to it:

if we have that kind of gracious concern.

=

More often we encounter within ourselves

the shabby compassion that grudges our time

compassion fatigue

a desire to hunker down against the bitter chill of human need.

That spirit seems more to the fore

than the spontaneous, generous, unconditional caring

that people are crying out for.

Yet the whole message of the Gospels is that Jesus can take the little things

Mustard seeds

Children

Cups of wine and loaves of bread

Mealy loaves and measly fishes

And make miracles…=

=

That sometimes weary compassion

With which we respond to the crises that engulf the world.

The “Oh, no not that again!” reaction

To yet another famine, or drought, or economic injustice somewhere in the world

may seem a rather discouraging starting point for our commitment to concern and compassion

our desire to respond to that world to serve…

But when we offer our reluctant hearts to God

He can change the little thing to a wonderful thing…

He can make miracles –with whatever we bring,

however seemingly inadequate.

It’s what he does.

=

The reality is that

within the life of the Church

there is more than enough for what needs to be done!

More than enough commitment

More than enough dedication

More than enough money…

-

But the key thing to that being more than just a slogan

More than just a wistful wishful thought

Is that we need to offer it to him!

Bring it to him…

And in obedience and trust

Make these things available to him

So that he can transform them

By the power of his love and grace…

=

Lord, here is my heart

Soften it, make it tender and responsive

Gracious and open..

Take this capacity I have for caring

And use it as you will

..

Do that

Make that offering

And watch the world around you

The world you serve….

Begin to change

Begin to be healed.

There is enough in your heart

To do that

 

More than enough…. AMENWHAT DO YOU BRING TO THE PICNIC?

 

Did I mention that I had a wee sports car?

Great for picnics…

Hood down…off to Abbotsford…

Picnic under the trees by the Tweed…

Living the dream, my dears,

Living the dream!

That was last year…

-

Picnic season sort of bypassed me this year…

Somehow too busy…

 

Shame really cos i| do have a

a whole range of picnic baskets for all occasions…

Little intimate picnic for two…cute!

Family size one…

Slightly funky shaped one…for tall bottles…

Rather ugly modern plastic one…

With ice pack thingy…

..

 

They’ve changed over the years of course…

Much more sophisticated affairs…

Jammy piece and a bottle of American Cream Soda…

Flask of Tea

Salad?

Cold chicken with mayonnaise…

I dinna hink sae..

 

=

If we were to have a picnic …

So what have we got….

Sandwiches…

Drinks

Flask?

Picnic rug…

Umbrella…

Biscuits…shortbread

Fruit

Salad…

Yoghurt for pudding…

Crisps

 

Maybe different things on the sandwiches…

What would be your choice?

 

So what do you bring to the picnic?

                         What do you bring to the picnic….?

All bring something…

Something to add to the mix

Something to freshen things up…

Something to share…

--

Wee boy brought his loaves and fishes to the picnic…

Tasty…

Bit of a tuna mayo man myself!

-

But, listen… what if he had held on to it…

Kept quiet about it…

Kept it all for himself…

What if he had said…

I’m alright mate… I’ve got mine…

tough luck on the rest of you…

No feast…

No miracle…

No change…

No joy…

 

And what if all the people with things to bring to the picnic

Keep them to themselves …

 

It’s my time…I’m not going to give it up to run this group or that…

It’s my money…I’m not going to give it to fund this initiative this new idea or that…

It’s my skill…I’m just going to use it to keep me comfortable…and not make it available where it might do some good…

It’s my right to welcome someone or not…so I’ll just keep that to myself…hold on to it…cling on to it…so that new person will keep feeling like a stranger…

It’s my house…I’m not going to open it to other people in the ministry of hospitality…

 

What if all the people with something to bring to the picnic…kept their gift…their talent…their ability…their unique life-changing quality to themselves…in their picnic basket…

 

·        Nothing would get done..

·        Nothing would get better…

·        Nothing would be achieved …

 

The truth is …God can do miracles

With our gifts…however small and insignificant they might seem to us…God can use who we are…

What we do…

He can take what we bring…

 

 

AND

It doesn’t matter what you bring to him,

He can do miracles with it.

That’s the good news!

 

Whatever it is we bring to him

·        Our searching

·        Our brokenness

·        Our weakness

·        Our talents

Our need

 

He blesses it.

 

When we bring our daily WORK

 

the meaning of what we do is transformed

From “something we do for money”

“Something we do for status”

“Something we do because we have to”

And it becomes

a holy place

an opportunity to share in building the kingdom

our calling

our service to God.

And suddenly the ordinary,

the menial

the routine

is injected with meaning,

because it has been given to him:

offered to him.

And he blesses it:

sanctifies the workplace

and changes our own view

of what it is we do through work.

++

HOME

 

When we bring him our home life,

it becomes a sacred experience

Rather than just “what you do.”

Parenting a sacred trust:

love and marriage a holy gift:

a whole new way of seeing the commonplace

so that it becomes

the holy place.

 

When we bring who we are, and what we do

He blesses those things

and injects the ordinary

with sacredness.

++

Whatever we bring him,

he can do miracles with it.

++

And who ever we are…

He can do miracles with what we bring…

 

CHILDREN

 

Children

can bring an open and inquiring mind.

He can use that to sow the seeds of faith

that bear fruit in later years:

to lay the ground works of faith,

instilling a sense of the holy

and an awareness that there is more

than “us” - and more than here and now.

Children can teach us that.

We need to encourage nurture and accept that…

Not let it dominate

But set it free, nonetheless…

++

TEENAGERS

 

Restless teenagers

hungry for change…

well aware that

The greatest threat to the church

is inertia”

that refusal to budge

to change,

to innovate,

to move on,

that energy….

when they give it to Him,

can be harnessed and used,

to shake up complacency

and take the church to new places…

to give the vision and the courage

to try new things

say the old things is a fresh way.

That’s why we have to listen.

Welcome and encourage…

 

 

BUSY YEARS

 

When we bring the exhausting years of our lives -

when work and home and family

and ageing parents

seem to sap our energy

and crowd our life to bursting point,

he can work his miracles there,

taking our tiredness to his heart,

affirming our worth

and sharing the load.

++

It’s when we forget

that he is able to do that

that we end up scurrying around

and losing touch

with the well-spring of refreshment and support.

 

He wants our burdens to be shared with him:

the honest truth of our emptiness

to be brought to him…

 

When we seek out his strength

and his transforming power,

He can do something with us and for us.

He can take the simple reality of our

“ Having nothing left in the tank”

and heal, strengthen and encourage.

 

That’s what he does.

Miracles with loaves and fishes.

Miracles with us.

Taking a little nothing -

and making a something from it.

++

MATURITY

 

And when we bring the maturity of our experience,

and the length of our years,

and the long faithful service of our love to him,

he can use that powerful resource

to work change in the world.

Wisdom combined with vision and laced with faith

is a powerful tool in the hands of God

++

And when in riper years

we find, with early retirement patterns,

and freedom from commitments and pressing responsibilities,

when we bring that gift of time and experience

to him

this is a dynamic and creative combination…

And sometimes when that plateau of maturity is reached

we find we have greater freedom with our resources.

Our home can be an open house.

Our money can be a liberating resource…that makes things happen…enables doors to be opened, new possibilities to be considered because we see our money differently now…

Our time can give an availability we never dreamt possible

when we used to be too busy to think.

++

Whatever we bring, and in our worship we bring so many things:

Our songs – our prayers – our listening…  our voice that the teacher told us years ago sounded like a crow…we bring it and he loves to hear it…

Our stumbling words and our uncertainties…

He can take those rough-edged things

and make something fine and beautiful from them…

+=

 

But that only works

When we do actually bring those things to him…

If the little lad had held on to what he had

either out of possessiveness, or a mistaken thought

that this little trifle would be of no use to the Master…

There would be no story

No miracle to savour.

++

When we clutch our problems tight in our hands

or cling possessively to our prerogatives

the miracle dies.

It just never happens.

When we come –

just as we are

with all that we have

no illusions

but also no holding back-

just wait

and see what God can do.

==

+++

I got to go there once…

Where it happened…

The feeding of the big crowd.

Not hard to imagine it…

--

So, they count the people:

More than five thousand of them.

How do you feed that lot?

=

They look at what they have

Five mealy loaves

Two measly fishes

And they ask the mocking question, the logical question:

“What are they among so many?”

=

And the answer comes

“Enough!”

=

And twelve baskets of left-overs later

The answer

“Actually, as it happens, more than enough!”

=

Our Lord does miracles with bread and fishes…

Takes the apparently inadequate resources

And makes

Not just sufficiency

But abundance!

--

What are these among so many?

Enough!

More than enough!

-

The Church… its glory days seemingly gone;

many of its vast costly building held together by hope

Its membership statistics in near free-fall

Its leadership in crisis

The church

Looks at the multitude of tasks facing it

Looks at the seemingly meagre resources at its disposal

And asks, desperately,

“What are these among so many?

=

The miracles of bread and fishes

Remind us

Assure us

That meagre as they seem

They are enough!

More than enough!

=

The Church, by the grace of God

And in the power of Christ

Can fulfil its calling

Complete its tasks…

-

The Church nationally

The Church locally

The individual Christian

Can – through the power and grace of God

do the job to which they are called.

There is a world to serve….

 

===

And that world needs us to love…

Whether it is in face of the global crises of AIDS and poverty

Or the endless calls upon our compassion from needing people

In our communities and cities:

Or simply the old neighbour,

Or frail relative

There is an ocean of need

for the kind of loving to which the Church is called…

=

And in face of this

We look into our own heart

And we wonder if we are up to it:

if we have that kind of gracious concern.

=

More often we encounter within ourselves

the shabby compassion that grudges our time

compassion fatigue

a desire to hunker down against the bitter chill of human need.

That spirit seems more to the fore

than the spontaneous, generous, unconditional caring

that people are crying out for.

Yet the whole message of the Gospels is that Jesus can take the little things

Mustard seeds

Children

Cups of wine and loaves of bread

Mealy loaves and measly fishes

And make miracles…=

=

That sometimes weary compassion

With which we respond to the crises that engulf the world.

The “Oh, no not that again!” reaction

To yet another famine, or drought, or economic injustice somewhere in the world

may seem a rather discouraging starting point for our commitment to concern and compassion

our desire to respond to that world to serve…

But when we offer our reluctant hearts to God

He can change the little thing to a wonderful thing…

He can make miracles –with whatever we bring,

however seemingly inadequate.

It’s what he does.

=

The reality is that

within the life of the Church

there is more than enough for what needs to be done!

More than enough commitment

More than enough dedication

More than enough money…

-

But the key thing to that being more than just a slogan

More than just a wistful wishful thought

Is that we need to offer it to him!

Bring it to him…

And in obedience and trust

Make these things available to him

So that he can transform them

By the power of his love and grace…

=

Lord, here is my heart

Soften it, make it tender and responsive

Gracious and open..

Take this capacity I have for caring

And use it as you will

..

Do that

Make that offering

And watch the world around you

The world you serve….

Begin to change

Begin to be healed.

There is enough in your heart

To do that

More than enough…. AMENWHAT DO YOU BRING TO THE PICNIC?

 

Did I mention that I had a wee sports car?

Great for picnics…

Hood down…off to Abbotsford…

Picnic under the trees by the Tweed…

Living the dream, my dears,

Living the dream!

That was last year…

-

Picnic season sort of bypassed me this year…

Somehow too busy…

 

Shame really cos i| do have a

a whole range of picnic baskets for all occasions…

Little intimate picnic for two…cute!

Family size one…

Slightly funky shaped one…for tall bottles…

Rather ugly modern plastic one…

With ice pack thingy…

..

 

They’ve changed over the years of course…

Much more sophisticated affairs…

Jammy piece and a bottle of American Cream Soda…

Flask of Tea

Salad?

Cold chicken with mayonnaise…

I dinna hink sae..

 

=

If we were to have a picnic …

So what have we got….

Sandwiches…

Drinks

Flask?

Picnic rug…

Umbrella…

Biscuits…shortbread

Fruit

Salad…

Yoghurt for pudding…

Crisps

 

Maybe different things on the sandwiches…

What would be your choice?

 

So what do you bring to the picnic?

                         What do you bring to the picnic….?

All bring something…

Something to add to the mix

Something to freshen things up…

Something to share…

--

Wee boy brought his loaves and fishes to the picnic…

Tasty…

Bit of a tuna mayo man myself!

-

But, listen… what if he had held on to it…

Kept quiet about it…

Kept it all for himself…

What if he had said…

I’m alright mate… I’ve got mine…

tough luck on the rest of you…

No feast…

No miracle…

No change…

No joy…

 

And what if all the people with things to bring to the picnic

Keep them to themselves …

 

It’s my time…I’m not going to give it up to run this group or that…

It’s my money…I’m not going to give it to fund this initiative this new idea or that…

It’s my skill…I’m just going to use it to keep me comfortable…and not make it available where it might do some good…

It’s my right to welcome someone or not…so I’ll just keep that to myself…hold on to it…cling on to it…so that new person will keep feeling like a stranger…

It’s my house…I’m not going to open it to other people in the ministry of hospitality…

 

What if all the people with something to bring to the picnic…kept their gift…their talent…their ability…their unique life-changing quality to themselves…in their picnic basket…

 

·        Nothing would get done..

·        Nothing would get better…

·        Nothing would be achieved …

 

The truth is …God can do miracles

With our gifts…however small and insignificant they might seem to us…God can use who we are…

What we do…

He can take what we bring…

 

 

AND

It doesn’t matter what you bring to him,

He can do miracles with it.

That’s the good news!

 

Whatever it is we bring to him

·        Our searching

·        Our brokenness

·        Our weakness

·        Our talents

Our need

 

He blesses it.

 

When we bring our daily WORK

 

the meaning of what we do is transformed

From “something we do for money”

“Something we do for status”

“Something we do because we have to”

And it becomes

a holy place

an opportunity to share in building the kingdom

our calling

our service to God.

And suddenly the ordinary,

the menial

the routine

is injected with meaning,

because it has been given to him:

offered to him.

And he blesses it:

sanctifies the workplace

and changes our own view

of what it is we do through work.

++

HOME

 

When we bring him our home life,

it becomes a sacred experience

Rather than just “what you do.”

Parenting a sacred trust:

love and marriage a holy gift:

a whole new way of seeing the commonplace

so that it becomes

the holy place.

 

When we bring who we are, and what we do

He blesses those things

and injects the ordinary

with sacredness.

++

Whatever we bring him,

he can do miracles with it.

++

And who ever we are…

He can do miracles with what we bring…

 

CHILDREN

 

Children

can bring an open and inquiring mind.

He can use that to sow the seeds of faith

that bear fruit in later years:

to lay the ground works of faith,

instilling a sense of the holy

and an awareness that there is more

than “us” - and more than here and now.

Children can teach us that.

We need to encourage nurture and accept that…

Not let it dominate

But set it free, nonetheless…

++

TEENAGERS

 

Restless teenagers

hungry for change…

well aware that

The greatest threat to the church

is inertia”

that refusal to budge

to change,

to innovate,

to move on,

that energy….

when they give it to Him,

can be harnessed and used,

to shake up complacency

and take the church to new places…

to give the vision and the courage

to try new things

say the old things is a fresh way.

That’s why we have to listen.

Welcome and encourage…

 

 

BUSY YEARS

 

When we bring the exhausting years of our lives -

when work and home and family

and ageing parents

seem to sap our energy

and crowd our life to bursting point,

he can work his miracles there,

taking our tiredness to his heart,

affirming our worth

and sharing the load.

++

It’s when we forget

that he is able to do that

that we end up scurrying around

and losing touch

with the well-spring of refreshment and support.

 

He wants our burdens to be shared with him:

the honest truth of our emptiness

to be brought to him…

 

When we seek out his strength

and his transforming power,

He can do something with us and for us.

He can take the simple reality of our

“ Having nothing left in the tank”

and heal, strengthen and encourage.

 

That’s what he does.

Miracles with loaves and fishes.

Miracles with us.

Taking a little nothing -

and making a something from it.

++

MATURITY

 

And when we bring the maturity of our experience,

and the length of our years,

and the long faithful service of our love to him,

he can use that powerful resource

to work change in the world.

Wisdom combined with vision and laced with faith

is a powerful tool in the hands of God

++

And when in riper years

we find, with early retirement patterns,

and freedom from commitments and pressing responsibilities,

when we bring that gift of time and experience

to him

this is a dynamic and creative combination…

And sometimes when that plateau of maturity is reached

we find we have greater freedom with our resources.

Our home can be an open house.

Our money can be a liberating resource…that makes things happen…enables doors to be opened, new possibilities to be considered because we see our money differently now…

Our time can give an availability we never dreamt possible

when we used to be too busy to think.

++

Whatever we bring, and in our worship we bring so many things:

Our songs – our prayers – our listening…  our voice that the teacher told us years ago sounded like a crow…we bring it and he loves to hear it…

Our stumbling words and our uncertainties…

He can take those rough-edged things

and make something fine and beautiful from them…

+=

 

But that only works

When we do actually bring those things to him…

If the little lad had held on to what he had

either out of possessiveness, or a mistaken thought

that this little trifle would be of no use to the Master…

There would be no story

No miracle to savour.

++

When we clutch our problems tight in our hands

or cling possessively to our prerogatives

the miracle dies.

It just never happens.

When we come –

just as we are

with all that we have

no illusions

but also no holding back-

just wait

and see what God can do.

==

+++

I got to go there once…

Where it happened…

The feeding of the big crowd.

Not hard to imagine it…

--

So, they count the people:

More than five thousand of them.

How do you feed that lot?

=

They look at what they have

Five mealy loaves

Two measly fishes

And they ask the mocking question, the logical question:

“What are they among so many?”

=

And the answer comes

“Enough!”

=

And twelve baskets of left-overs later

The answer

“Actually, as it happens, more than enough!”

=

Our Lord does miracles with bread and fishes…

Takes the apparently inadequate resources

And makes

Not just sufficiency

But abundance!

--

What are these among so many?

Enough!

More than enough!

-

The Church… its glory days seemingly gone;

many of its vast costly building held together by hope

Its membership statistics in near free-fall

Its leadership in crisis

The church

Looks at the multitude of tasks facing it

Looks at the seemingly meagre resources at its disposal

And asks, desperately,

“What are these among so many?

=

The miracles of bread and fishes

Remind us

Assure us

That meagre as they seem

They are enough!

More than enough!

=

The Church, by the grace of God

And in the power of Christ

Can fulfil its calling

Complete its tasks…

-

The Church nationally

The Church locally

The individual Christian

Can – through the power and grace of God

do the job to which they are called.

There is a world to serve….

 

===

And that world needs us to love…

Whether it is in face of the global crises of AIDS and poverty

Or the endless calls upon our compassion from needing people

In our communities and cities:

Or simply the old neighbour,

Or frail relative

There is an ocean of need

for the kind of loving to which the Church is called…

=

And in face of this

We look into our own heart

And we wonder if we are up to it:

if we have that kind of gracious concern.

=

More often we encounter within ourselves

the shabby compassion that grudges our time

compassion fatigue

a desire to hunker down against the bitter chill of human need.

That spirit seems more to the fore

than the spontaneous, generous, unconditional caring

that people are crying out for.

Yet the whole message of the Gospels is that Jesus can take the little things

Mustard seeds

Children

Cups of wine and loaves of bread

Mealy loaves and measly fishes

And make miracles…=

=

That sometimes weary compassion

With which we respond to the crises that engulf the world.

The “Oh, no not that again!” reaction

To yet another famine, or drought, or economic injustice somewhere in the world

may seem a rather discouraging starting point for our commitment to concern and compassion

our desire to respond to that world to serve…

But when we offer our reluctant hearts to God

He can change the little thing to a wonderful thing…

He can make miracles –with whatever we bring,

however seemingly inadequate.

It’s what he does.

=

The reality is that

within the life of the Church

there is more than enough for what needs to be done!

More than enough commitment

More than enough dedication

More than enough money…

-

But the key thing to that being more than just a slogan

More than just a wistful wishful thought

Is that we need to offer it to him!

Bring it to him…

And in obedience and trust

Make these things available to him

So that he can transform them

By the power of his love and grace…

=

Lord, here is my heart

Soften it, make it tender and responsive

Gracious and open..

Take this capacity I have for caring

And use it as you will

..

Do that

Make that offering

And watch the world around you

The world you serve….

Begin to change

Begin to be healed.

There is enough in your heart

To do that

More than enough…. AMENWHAT DO YOU BRING TO THE PICNIC?

 

Did I mention that I had a wee sports car?

Great for picnics…

Hood down…off to Abbotsford…

Picnic under the trees by the Tweed…

Living the dream, my dears,

Living the dream!

That was last year…

-

Picnic season sort of bypassed me this year…

Somehow too busy…

 

Shame really cos i| do have a

a whole range of picnic baskets for all occasions…

Little intimate picnic for two…cute!

Family size one…

Slightly funky shaped one…for tall bottles…

Rather ugly modern plastic one…

With ice pack thingy…

..

 

They’ve changed over the years of course…

Much more sophisticated affairs…

Jammy piece and a bottle of American Cream Soda…

Flask of Tea

Salad?

Cold chicken with mayonnaise…

I dinna hink sae..

 

=

If we were to have a picnic …

So what have we got….

Sandwiches…

Drinks

Flask?

Picnic rug…

Umbrella…

Biscuits…shortbread

Fruit

Salad…

Yoghurt for pudding…

Crisps

 

Maybe different things on the sandwiches…

What would be your choice?

 

So what do you bring to the picnic?

                         What do you bring to the picnic….?

All bring something…

Something to add to the mix

Something to freshen things up…

Something to share…

--

Wee boy brought his loaves and fishes to the picnic…

Tasty…

Bit of a tuna mayo man myself!

-

But, listen… what if he had held on to it…

Kept quiet about it…

Kept it all for himself…

What if he had said…

I’m alright mate… I’ve got mine…

tough luck on the rest of you…

No feast…

No miracle…

No change…

No joy…

 

And what if all the people with things to bring to the picnic

Keep them to themselves …

 

It’s my time…I’m not going to give it up to run this group or that…

It’s my money…I’m not going to give it to fund this initiative this new idea or that…

It’s my skill…I’m just going to use it to keep me comfortable…and not make it available where it might do some good…

It’s my right to welcome someone or not…so I’ll just keep that to myself…hold on to it…cling on to it…so that new person will keep feeling like a stranger…

It’s my house…I’m not going to open it to other people in the ministry of hospitality…

 

What if all the people with something to bring to the picnic…kept their gift…their talent…their ability…their unique life-changing quality to themselves…in their picnic basket…

 

·        Nothing would get done..

·        Nothing would get better…

·        Nothing would be achieved …

 

The truth is …God can do miracles

With our gifts…however small and insignificant they might seem to us…God can use who we are…

What we do…

He can take what we bring…

 

 

AND

It doesn’t matter what you bring to him,

He can do miracles with it.

That’s the good news!

 

Whatever it is we bring to him

·        Our searching

·        Our brokenness

·        Our weakness

·        Our talents

Our need

 

He blesses it.

 

When we bring our daily WORK

 

the meaning of what we do is transformed

From “something we do for money”

“Something we do for status”

“Something we do because we have to”

And it becomes

a holy place

an opportunity to share in building the kingdom

our calling

our service to God.

And suddenly the ordinary,

the menial

the routine

is injected with meaning,

because it has been given to him:

offered to him.

And he blesses it:

sanctifies the workplace

and changes our own view

of what it is we do through work.

++

HOME

 

When we bring him our home life,

it becomes a sacred experience

Rather than just “what you do.”

Parenting a sacred trust:

love and marriage a holy gift:

a whole new way of seeing the commonplace

so that it becomes

the holy place.

 

When we bring who we are, and what we do

He blesses those things

and injects the ordinary

with sacredness.

++

Whatever we bring him,

he can do miracles with it.

++

And who ever we are…

He can do miracles with what we bring…

 

CHILDREN

 

Children

can bring an open and inquiring mind.

He can use that to sow the seeds of faith

that bear fruit in later years:

to lay the ground works of faith,

instilling a sense of the holy

and an awareness that there is more

than “us” - and more than here and now.

Children can teach us that.

We need to encourage nurture and accept that…

Not let it dominate

But set it free, nonetheless…

++

TEENAGERS

 

Restless teenagers

hungry for change…

well aware that

The greatest threat to the church

is inertia”

that refusal to budge

to change,

to innovate,

to move on,

that energy….

when they give it to Him,

can be harnessed and used,

to shake up complacency

and take the church to new places…

to give the vision and the courage

to try new things

say the old things is a fresh way.

That’s why we have to listen.

Welcome and encourage…

 

 

BUSY YEARS

 

When we bring the exhausting years of our lives -

when work and home and family

and ageing parents

seem to sap our energy

and crowd our life to bursting point,

he can work his miracles there,

taking our tiredness to his heart,

affirming our worth

and sharing the load.

++

It’s when we forget

that he is able to do that

that we end up scurrying around

and losing touch

with the well-spring of refreshment and support.

 

He wants our burdens to be shared with him:

the honest truth of our emptiness

to be brought to him…

 

When we seek out his strength

and his transforming power,

He can do something with us and for us.

He can take the simple reality of our

“ Having nothing left in the tank”

and heal, strengthen and encourage.

 

That’s what he does.

Miracles with loaves and fishes.

Miracles with us.

Taking a little nothing -

and making a something from it.

++

MATURITY

 

And when we bring the maturity of our experience,

and the length of our years,

and the long faithful service of our love to him,

he can use that powerful resource

to work change in the world.

Wisdom combined with vision and laced with faith

is a powerful tool in the hands of God

++

And when in riper years

we find, with early retirement patterns,

and freedom from commitments and pressing responsibilities,

when we bring that gift of time and experience

to him

this is a dynamic and creative combination…

And sometimes when that plateau of maturity is reached

we find we have greater freedom with our resources.

Our home can be an open house.

Our money can be a liberating resource…that makes things happen…enables doors to be opened, new possibilities to be considered because we see our money differently now…

Our time can give an availability we never dreamt possible

when we used to be too busy to think.

++

Whatever we bring, and in our worship we bring so many things:

Our songs – our prayers – our listening…  our voice that the teacher told us years ago sounded like a crow…we bring it and he loves to hear it…

Our stumbling words and our uncertainties…

He can take those rough-edged things

and make something fine and beautiful from them…

+=

 

But that only works

When we do actually bring those things to him…

If the little lad had held on to what he had

either out of possessiveness, or a mistaken thought

that this little trifle would be of no use to the Master…

There would be no story

No miracle to savour.

++

When we clutch our problems tight in our hands

or cling possessively to our prerogatives

the miracle dies.

It just never happens.

When we come –

just as we are

with all that we have

no illusions

but also no holding back-

just wait

and see what God can do.

==

+++

I got to go there once…

Where it happened…

The feeding of the big crowd.

Not hard to imagine it…

--

So, they count the people:

More than five thousand of them.

How do you feed that lot?

=

They look at what they have

Five mealy loaves

Two measly fishes

And they ask the mocking question, the logical question:

“What are they among so many?”

=

And the answer comes

“Enough!”

=

And twelve baskets of left-overs later

The answer

“Actually, as it happens, more than enough!”

=

Our Lord does miracles with bread and fishes…

Takes the apparently inadequate resources

And makes

Not just sufficiency

But abundance!

--

What are these among so many?

Enough!

More than enough!

-

The Church… its glory days seemingly gone;

many of its vast costly building held together by hope

Its membership statistics in near free-fall

Its leadership in crisis

The church

Looks at the multitude of tasks facing it

Looks at the seemingly meagre resources at its disposal

And asks, desperately,

“What are these among so many?

=

The miracles of bread and fishes

Remind us

Assure us

That meagre as they seem

They are enough!

More than enough!

=

The Church, by the grace of God

And in the power of Christ

Can fulfil its calling

Complete its tasks…

-

The Church nationally

The Church locally

The individual Christian

Can – through the power and grace of God

do the job to which they are called.

There is a world to serve….

 

===

And that world needs us to love…

Whether it is in face of the global crises of AIDS and poverty

Or the endless calls upon our compassion from needing people

In our communities and cities:

Or simply the old neighbour,

Or frail relative

There is an ocean of need

for the kind of loving to which the Church is called…

=

And in face of this

We look into our own heart

And we wonder if we are up to it:

if we have that kind of gracious concern.

=

More often we encounter within ourselves

the shabby compassion that grudges our time

compassion fatigue

a desire to hunker down against the bitter chill of human need.

That spirit seems more to the fore

than the spontaneous, generous, unconditional caring

that people are crying out for.

Yet the whole message of the Gospels is that Jesus can take the little things

Mustard seeds

Children

Cups of wine and loaves of bread

Mealy loaves and measly fishes

And make miracles…=

=

That sometimes weary compassion

With which we respond to the crises that engulf the world.

The “Oh, no not that again!” reaction

To yet another famine, or drought, or economic injustice somewhere in the world

may seem a rather discouraging starting point for our commitment to concern and compassion

our desire to respond to that world to serve…

But when we offer our reluctant hearts to God

He can change the little thing to a wonderful thing…

He can make miracles –with whatever we bring,

however seemingly inadequate.

It’s what he does.

=

The reality is that

within the life of the Church

there is more than enough for what needs to be done!

More than enough commitment

More than enough dedication

More than enough money…

-

But the key thing to that being more than just a slogan

More than just a wistful wishful thought

Is that we need to offer it to him!

Bring it to him…

And in obedience and trust

Make these things available to him

So that he can transform them

By the power of his love and grace…

=

Lord, here is my heart

Soften it, make it tender and responsive

Gracious and open..

Take this capacity I have for caring

And use it as you will

..

Do that

Make that offering

And watch the world around you

The world you serve….

Begin to change

Begin to be healed.

There is enough in your heart

To do that

More than enough…. AMENWHAT DO YOU BRING TO THE PICNIC?

 

Did I mention that I had a wee sports car?

Great for picnics…

Hood down…off to Abbotsford…

Picnic under the trees by the Tweed…

Living the dream, my dears,

Living the dream!

That was last year…

-

Picnic season sort of bypassed me this year…

Somehow too busy…

 

Shame really cos i| do have a

a whole range of picnic baskets for all occasions…

Little intimate picnic for two…cute!

Family size one…

Slightly funky shaped one…for tall bottles…

Rather ugly modern plastic one…

With ice pack thingy…

..

 

They’ve changed over the years of course…

Much more sophisticated affairs…

Jammy piece and a bottle of American Cream Soda…

Flask of Tea

Salad?

Cold chicken with mayonnaise…

I dinna hink sae..

 

=

If we were to have a picnic …

So what have we got….

Sandwiches…

Drinks

Flask?

Picnic rug…

Umbrella…

Biscuits…shortbread

Fruit

Salad…

Yoghurt for pudding…

Crisps

 

Maybe different things on the sandwiches…

What would be your choice?

 

So what do you bring to the picnic?

                         What do you bring to the picnic….?

All bring something…

Something to add to the mix

Something to freshen things up…

Something to share…

--

Wee boy brought his loaves and fishes to the picnic…

Tasty…

Bit of a tuna mayo man myself!

-

But, listen… what if he had held on to it…

Kept quiet about it…

Kept it all for himself…

What if he had said…

I’m alright mate… I’ve got mine…

tough luck on the rest of you…

No feast…

No miracle…

No change…

No joy…

 

And what if all the people with things to bring to the picnic

Keep them to themselves …

 

It’s my time…I’m not going to give it up to run this group or that…

It’s my money…I’m not going to give it to fund this initiative this new idea or that…

It’s my skill…I’m just going to use it to keep me comfortable…and not make it available where it might do some good…

It’s my right to welcome someone or not…so I’ll just keep that to myself…hold on to it…cling on to it…so that new person will keep feeling like a stranger…

It’s my house…I’m not going to open it to other people in the ministry of hospitality…

 

What if all the people with something to bring to the picnic…kept their gift…their talent…their ability…their unique life-changing quality to themselves…in their picnic basket…

 

·        Nothing would get done..

·        Nothing would get better…

·        Nothing would be achieved …

 

The truth is …God can do miracles

With our gifts…however small and insignificant they might seem to us…God can use who we are…

What we do…

He can take what we bring…

 

 

AND

It doesn’t matter what you bring to him,

He can do miracles with it.

That’s the good news!

 

Whatever it is we bring to him

·        Our searching

·        Our brokenness

·        Our weakness

·        Our talents

Our need

 

He blesses it.

 

When we bring our daily WORK

 

the meaning of what we do is transformed

From “something we do for money”

“Something we do for status”

“Something we do because we have to”

And it becomes

a holy place

an opportunity to share in building the kingdom

our calling

our service to God.

And suddenly the ordinary,

the menial

the routine

is injected with meaning,

because it has been given to him:

offered to him.

And he blesses it:

sanctifies the workplace

and changes our own view

of what it is we do through work.

++

HOME

 

When we bring him our home life,

it becomes a sacred experience

Rather than just “what you do.”

Parenting a sacred trust:

love and marriage a holy gift:

a whole new way of seeing the commonplace

so that it becomes

the holy place.

 

When we bring who we are, and what we do

He blesses those things

and injects the ordinary

with sacredness.

++

Whatever we bring him,

he can do miracles with it.

++

And who ever we are…

He can do miracles with what we bring…

 

CHILDREN

 

Children

can bring an open and inquiring mind.

He can use that to sow the seeds of faith

that bear fruit in later years:

to lay the ground works of faith,

instilling a sense of the holy

and an awareness that there is more

than “us” - and more than here and now.

Children can teach us that.

We need to encourage nurture and accept that…

Not let it dominate

But set it free, nonetheless…

++

TEENAGERS

 

Restless teenagers

hungry for change…

well aware that

The greatest threat to the church

is inertia”

that refusal to budge

to change,

to innovate,

to move on,

that energy….

when they give it to Him,

can be harnessed and used,

to shake up complacency

and take the church to new places…

to give the vision and the courage

to try new things

say the old things is a fresh way.

That’s why we have to listen.

Welcome and encourage…

 

 

BUSY YEARS

 

When we bring the exhausting years of our lives -

when work and home and family

and ageing parents

seem to sap our energy

and crowd our life to bursting point,

he can work his miracles there,

taking our tiredness to his heart,

affirming our worth

and sharing the load.

++

It’s when we forget

that he is able to do that

that we end up scurrying around

and losing touch

with the well-spring of refreshment and support.

 

He wants our burdens to be shared with him:

the honest truth of our emptiness

to be brought to him…

 

When we seek out his strength

and his transforming power,

He can do something with us and for us.

He can take the simple reality of our

“ Having nothing left in the tank”

and heal, strengthen and encourage.

 

That’s what he does.

Miracles with loaves and fishes.

Miracles with us.

Taking a little nothing -

and making a something from it.

++

MATURITY

 

And when we bring the maturity of our experience,

and the length of our years,

and the long faithful service of our love to him,

he can use that powerful resource

to work change in the world.

Wisdom combined with vision and laced with faith

is a powerful tool in the hands of God

++

And when in riper years

we find, with early retirement patterns,

and freedom from commitments and pressing responsibilities,

when we bring that gift of time and experience

to him

this is a dynamic and creative combination…

And sometimes when that plateau of maturity is reached

we find we have greater freedom with our resources.

Our home can be an open house.

Our money can be a liberating resource…that makes things happen…enables doors to be opened, new possibilities to be considered because we see our money differently now…

Our time can give an availability we never dreamt possible

when we used to be too busy to think.

++

Whatever we bring, and in our worship we bring so many things:

Our songs – our prayers – our listening…  our voice that the teacher told us years ago sounded like a crow…we bring it and he loves to hear it…

Our stumbling words and our uncertainties…

He can take those rough-edged things

and make something fine and beautiful from them…

+=

 

But that only works

When we do actually bring those things to him…

If the little lad had held on to what he had

either out of possessiveness, or a mistaken thought

that this little trifle would be of no use to the Master…

There would be no story

No miracle to savour.

++

When we clutch our problems tight in our hands

or cling possessively to our prerogatives

the miracle dies.

It just never happens.

When we come –

just as we are

with all that we have

no illusions

but also no holding back-

just wait

and see what God can do.

==

+++

I got to go there once…

Where it happened…

The feeding of the big crowd.

Not hard to imagine it…

--

So, they count the people:

More than five thousand of them.

How do you feed that lot?

=

They look at what they have

Five mealy loaves

Two measly fishes

And they ask the mocking question, the logical question:

“What are they among so many?”

=

And the answer comes

“Enough!”

=

And twelve baskets of left-overs later

The answer

“Actually, as it happens, more than enough!”

=

Our Lord does miracles with bread and fishes…

Takes the apparently inadequate resources

And makes

Not just sufficiency

But abundance!

--

What are these among so many?

Enough!

More than enough!

-

The Church… its glory days seemingly gone;

many of its vast costly building held together by hope

Its membership statistics in near free-fall

Its leadership in crisis

The church

Looks at the multitude of tasks facing it

Looks at the seemingly meagre resources at its disposal

And asks, desperately,

“What are these among so many?

=

The miracles of bread and fishes

Remind us

Assure us

That meagre as they seem

They are enough!

More than enough!

=

The Church, by the grace of God

And in the power of Christ

Can fulfil its calling

Complete its tasks…

-

The Church nationally

The Church locally

The individual Christian

Can – through the power and grace of God

do the job to which they are called.

There is a world to serve….

 

===

And that world needs us to love…

Whether it is in face of the global crises of AIDS and poverty

Or the endless calls upon our compassion from needing people

In our communities and cities:

Or simply the old neighbour,

Or frail relative

There is an ocean of need

for the kind of loving to which the Church is called…

=

And in face of this

We look into our own heart

And we wonder if we are up to it:

if we have that kind of gracious concern.

=

More often we encounter within ourselves

the shabby compassion that grudges our time

compassion fatigue

a desire to hunker down against the bitter chill of human need.

That spirit seems more to the fore

than the spontaneous, generous, unconditional caring

that people are crying out for.

Yet the whole message of the Gospels is that Jesus can take the little things

Mustard seeds

Children

Cups of wine and loaves of bread

Mealy loaves and measly fishes

And make miracles…=

=

That sometimes weary compassion

With which we respond to the crises that engulf the world.

The “Oh, no not that again!” reaction

To yet another famine, or drought, or economic injustice somewhere in the world

may seem a rather discouraging starting point for our commitment to concern and compassion

our desire to respond to that world to serve…

But when we offer our reluctant hearts to God

He can change the little thing to a wonderful thing…

He can make miracles –with whatever we bring,

however seemingly inadequate.

It’s what he does.

=

The reality is that

within the life of the Church

there is more than enough for what needs to be done!

More than enough commitment

More than enough dedication

More than enough money…

-

But the key thing to that being more than just a slogan

More than just a wistful wishful thought

Is that we need to offer it to him!

Bring it to him…

And in obedience and trust

Make these things available to him

So that he can transform them

By the power of his love and grace…

=

Lord, here is my heart

Soften it, make it tender and responsive

Gracious and open..

Take this capacity I have for caring

And use it as you will

..

Do that

Make that offering

And watch the world around you

The world you serve….

Begin to change

Begin to be healed.

There is enough in your heart

To do that

More than enough…. AMENWHAT DO YOU BRING TO THE PICNIC?

 

Did I mention that I had a wee sports car?

Great for picnics…

Hood down…off to Abbotsford…

Picnic under the trees by the Tweed…

Living the dream, my dears,

Living the dream!

That was last year…

-

Picnic season sort of bypassed me this year…

Somehow too busy…

 

Shame really cos i| do have a

a whole range of picnic baskets for all occasions…

Little intimate picnic for two…cute!

Family size one…

Slightly funky shaped one…for tall bottles…

Rather ugly modern plastic one…

With ice pack thingy…

..

 

They’ve changed over the years of course…

Much more sophisticated affairs…

Jammy piece and a bottle of American Cream Soda…

Flask of Tea

Salad?

Cold chicken with mayonnaise…

I dinna hink sae..

 

=

If we were to have a picnic …

So what have we got….

Sandwiches…

Drinks

Flask?

Picnic rug…

Umbrella…

Biscuits…shortbread

Fruit

Salad…

Yoghurt for pudding…

Crisps

 

Maybe different things on the sandwiches…

What would be your choice?

 

So what do you bring to the picnic?

                         What do you bring to the picnic….?

All bring something…

Something to add to the mix

Something to freshen things up…

Something to share…

--

Wee boy brought his loaves and fishes to the picnic…

Tasty…

Bit of a tuna mayo man myself!

-

But, listen… what if he had held on to it…

Kept quiet about it…

Kept it all for himself…

What if he had said…

I’m alright mate… I’ve got mine…

tough luck on the rest of you…

No feast…

No miracle…

No change…

No joy…

 

And what if all the people with things to bring to the picnic

Keep them to themselves …

 

It’s my time…I’m not going to give it up to run this group or that…

It’s my money…I’m not going to give it to fund this initiative this new idea or that…

It’s my skill…I’m just going to use it to keep me comfortable…and not make it available where it might do some good…

It’s my right to welcome someone or not…so I’ll just keep that to myself…hold on to it…cling on to it…so that new person will keep feeling like a stranger…

It’s my house…I’m not going to open it to other people in the ministry of hospitality…

 

What if all the people with something to bring to the picnic…kept their gift…their talent…their ability…their unique life-changing quality to themselves…in their picnic basket…

 

·        Nothing would get done..

·        Nothing would get better…

·        Nothing would be achieved …

 

The truth is …God can do miracles

With our gifts…however small and insignificant they might seem to us…God can use who we are…

What we do…

He can take what we bring…

 

 

AND

It doesn’t matter what you bring to him,

He can do miracles with it.

That’s the good news!

 

Whatever it is we bring to him

·        Our searching

·        Our brokenness

·        Our weakness

·        Our talents

Our need

 

He blesses it.

 

When we bring our daily WORK

 

the meaning of what we do is transformed

From “something we do for money”

“Something we do for status”

“Something we do because we have to”

And it becomes

a holy place

an opportunity to share in building the kingdom

our calling

our service to God.

And suddenly the ordinary,

the menial

the routine

is injected with meaning,

because it has been given to him:

offered to him.

And he blesses it:

sanctifies the workplace

and changes our own view

of what it is we do through work.

++

HOME

 

When we bring him our home life,

it becomes a sacred experience

Rather than just “what you do.”

Parenting a sacred trust:

love and marriage a holy gift:

a whole new way of seeing the commonplace

so that it becomes

the holy place.

 

When we bring who we are, and what we do

He blesses those things

and injects the ordinary

with sacredness.

++

Whatever we bring him,

he can do miracles with it.

++

And who ever we are…

He can do miracles with what we bring…

 

CHILDREN

 

Children

can bring an open and inquiring mind.

He can use that to sow the seeds of faith

that bear fruit in later years:

to lay the ground works of faith,

instilling a sense of the holy

and an awareness that there is more

than “us” - and more than here and now.

Children can teach us that.

We need to encourage nurture and accept that…

Not let it dominate

But set it free, nonetheless…

++

TEENAGERS

 

Restless teenagers

hungry for change…

well aware that

The greatest threat to the church

is inertia”

that refusal to budge

to change,

to innovate,

to move on,

that energy….

when they give it to Him,

can be harnessed and used,

to shake up complacency

and take the church to new places…

to give the vision and the courage

to try new things

say the old things is a fresh way.

That’s why we have to listen.

Welcome and encourage…

 

 

BUSY YEARS

 

When we bring the exhausting years of our lives -

when work and home and family

and ageing parents

seem to sap our energy

and crowd our life to bursting point,

he can work his miracles there,

taking our tiredness to his heart,

affirming our worth

and sharing the load.

++

It’s when we forget

that he is able to do that

that we end up scurrying around

and losing touch

with the well-spring of refreshment and support.

 

He wants our burdens to be shared with him:

the honest truth of our emptiness

to be brought to him…

 

When we seek out his strength

and his transforming power,

He can do something with us and for us.

He can take the simple reality of our

“ Having nothing left in the tank”

and heal, strengthen and encourage.

 

That’s what he does.

Miracles with loaves and fishes.

Miracles with us.

Taking a little nothing -

and making a something from it.

++

MATURITY

 

And when we bring the maturity of our experience,

and the length of our years,

and the long faithful service of our love to him,

he can use that powerful resource

to work change in the world.

Wisdom combined with vision and laced with faith

is a powerful tool in the hands of God

++

And when in riper years

we find, with early retirement patterns,

and freedom from commitments and pressing responsibilities,

when we bring that gift of time and experience

to him

this is a dynamic and creative combination…

And sometimes when that plateau of maturity is reached

we find we have greater freedom with our resources.

Our home can be an open house.

Our money can be a liberating resource…that makes things happen…enables doors to be opened, new possibilities to be considered because we see our money differently now…

Our time can give an availability we never dreamt possible

when we used to be too busy to think.

++

Whatever we bring, and in our worship we bring so many things:

Our songs – our prayers – our listening…  our voice that the teacher told us years ago sounded like a crow…we bring it and he loves to hear it…

Our stumbling words and our uncertainties…

He can take those rough-edged things

and make something fine and beautiful from them…

+=

 

But that only works

When we do actually bring those things to him…

If the little lad had held on to what he had

either out of possessiveness, or a mistaken thought

that this little trifle would be of no use to the Master…

There would be no story

No miracle to savour.

++

When we clutch our problems tight in our hands

or cling possessively to our prerogatives

the miracle dies.

It just never happens.

When we come –

just as we are

with all that we have

no illusions

but also no holding back-

just wait

and see what God can do.

==

+++

I got to go there once…

Where it happened…

The feeding of the big crowd.

Not hard to imagine it…

--

So, they count the people:

More than five thousand of them.

How do you feed that lot?

=

They look at what they have

Five mealy loaves

Two measly fishes

And they ask the mocking question, the logical question:

“What are they among so many?”

=

And the answer comes

“Enough!”

=

And twelve baskets of left-overs later

The answer

“Actually, as it happens, more than enough!”

=

Our Lord does miracles with bread and fishes…

Takes the apparently inadequate resources

And makes

Not just sufficiency

But abundance!

--

What are these among so many?

Enough!

More than enough!

-

The Church… its glory days seemingly gone;

many of its vast costly building held together by hope

Its membership statistics in near free-fall

Its leadership in crisis

The church

Looks at the multitude of tasks facing it

Looks at the seemingly meagre resources at its disposal

And asks, desperately,

“What are these among so many?

=

The miracles of bread and fishes

Remind us

Assure us

That meagre as they seem

They are enough!

More than enough!

=

The Church, by the grace of God

And in the power of Christ

Can fulfil its calling

Complete its tasks…

-

The Church nationally

The Church locally

The individual Christian

Can – through the power and grace of God

do the job to which they are called.

There is a world to serve….

 

===

And that world needs us to love…

Whether it is in face of the global crises of AIDS and poverty

Or the endless calls upon our compassion from needing people

In our communities and cities:

Or simply the old neighbour,

Or frail relative

There is an ocean of need

for the kind of loving to which the Church is called…

=

And in face of this

We look into our own heart

And we wonder if we are up to it:

if we have that kind of gracious concern.

=

More often we encounter within ourselves

the shabby compassion that grudges our time

compassion fatigue

a desire to hunker down against the bitter chill of human need.

That spirit seems more to the fore

than the spontaneous, generous, unconditional caring

that people are crying out for.

Yet the whole message of the Gospels is that Jesus can take the little things

Mustard seeds

Children

Cups of wine and loaves of bread

Mealy loaves and measly fishes

And make miracles…=

=

That sometimes weary compassion

With which we respond to the crises that engulf the world.

The “Oh, no not that again!” reaction

To yet another famine, or drought, or economic injustice somewhere in the world

may seem a rather discouraging starting point for our commitment to concern and compassion

our desire to respond to that world to serve…

But when we offer our reluctant hearts to God

He can change the little thing to a wonderful thing…

He can make miracles –with whatever we bring,

however seemingly inadequate.

It’s what he does.

=

The reality is that

within the life of the Church

there is more than enough for what needs to be done!

More than enough commitment

More than enough dedication

More than enough money…

-

But the key thing to that being more than just a slogan

More than just a wistful wishful thought

Is that we need to offer it to him!

Bring it to him…

And in obedience and trust

Make these things available to him

So that he can transform them

By the power of his love and grace…

=

Lord, here is my heart

Soften it, make it tender and responsive

Gracious and open..

Take this capacity I have for caring

And use it as you will

..

Do that

Make that offering

And watch the world around you

The world you serve….

Begin to change

Begin to be healed.

There is enough in your heart

To do that

More than enough…. AMENWHAT DO YOU BRING TO THE PICNIC?

 

Did I mention that I had a wee sports car?

Great for picnics…

Hood down…off to Abbotsford…

Picnic under the trees by the Tweed…

Living the dream, my dears,

Living the dream!

That was last year…

-

Picnic season sort of bypassed me this year…

Somehow too busy…

 

Shame really cos i| do have a

a whole range of picnic baskets for all occasions…

Little intimate picnic for two…cute!

Family size one…

Slightly funky shaped one…for tall bottles…

Rather ugly modern plastic one…

With ice pack thingy…

..

 

They’ve changed over the years of course…

Much more sophisticated affairs…

Jammy piece and a bottle of American Cream Soda…

Flask of Tea

Salad?

Cold chicken with mayonnaise…

I dinna hink sae..

 

=

If we were to have a picnic …

So what have we got….

Sandwiches…

Drinks

Flask?

Picnic rug…

Umbrella…

Biscuits…shortbread

Fruit

Salad…

Yoghurt for pudding…

Crisps

 

Maybe different things on the sandwiches…

What would be your choice?

 

So what do you bring to the picnic?

                         What do you bring to the picnic….?

All bring something…

Something to add to the mix

Something to freshen things up…

Something to share…

--

Wee boy brought his loaves and fishes to the picnic…

Tasty…

Bit of a tuna mayo man myself!

-

But, listen… what if he had held on to it…

Kept quiet about it…

Kept it all for himself…

What if he had said…

I’m alright mate… I’ve got mine…

tough luck on the rest of you…

No feast…

No miracle…

No change…

No joy…

 

And what if all the people with things to bring to the picnic

Keep them to themselves …

 

It’s my time…I’m not going to give it up to run this group or that…

It’s my money…I’m not going to give it to fund this initiative this new idea or that…

It’s my skill…I’m just going to use it to keep me comfortable…and not make it available where it might do some good…

It’s my right to welcome someone or not…so I’ll just keep that to myself…hold on to it…cling on to it…so that new person will keep feeling like a stranger…

It’s my house…I’m not going to open it to other people in the ministry of hospitality…

 

What if all the people with something to bring to the picnic…kept their gift…their talent…their ability…their unique life-changing quality to themselves…in their picnic basket…

 

·        Nothing would get done..

·        Nothing would get better…

·        Nothing would be achieved …

 

The truth is …God can do miracles

With our gifts…however small and insignificant they might seem to us…God can use who we are…

What we do…

He can take what we bring…

 

 

AND

It doesn’t matter what you bring to him,

He can do miracles with it.

That’s the good news!

 

Whatever it is we bring to him

·        Our searching

·        Our brokenness

·        Our weakness

·        Our talents

Our need

 

He blesses it.

 

When we bring our daily WORK

 

the meaning of what we do is transformed

From “something we do for money”

“Something we do for status”

“Something we do because we have to”

And it becomes

a holy place

an opportunity to share in building the kingdom

our calling

our service to God.

And suddenly the ordinary,

the menial

the routine

is injected with meaning,

because it has been given to him:

offered to him.

And he blesses it:

sanctifies the workplace

and changes our own view

of what it is we do through work.

++

HOME

 

When we bring him our home life,

it becomes a sacred experience

Rather than just “what you do.”

Parenting a sacred trust:

love and marriage a holy gift:

a whole new way of seeing the commonplace

so that it becomes

the holy place.

 

When we bring who we are, and what we do

He blesses those things

and injects the ordinary

with sacredness.

++

Whatever we bring him,

he can do miracles with it.

++

And who ever we are…

He can do miracles with what we bring…

 

CHILDREN

 

Children

can bring an open and inquiring mind.

He can use that to sow the seeds of faith

that bear fruit in later years:

to lay the ground works of faith,

instilling a sense of the holy

and an awareness that there is more

than “us” - and more than here and now.

Children can teach us that.

We need to encourage nurture and accept that…

Not let it dominate

But set it free, nonetheless…

++

TEENAGERS

 

Restless teenagers

hungry for change…

well aware that

The greatest threat to the church

is inertia”

that refusal to budge

to change,

to innovate,

to move on,

that energy….

when they give it to Him,

can be harnessed and used,

to shake up complacency

and take the church to new places…

to give the vision and the courage

to try new things

say the old things is a fresh way.

That’s why we have to listen.

Welcome and encourage…

 

 

BUSY YEARS

 

When we bring the exhausting years of our lives -

when work and home and family

and ageing parents

seem to sap our energy

and crowd our life to bursting point,

he can work his miracles there,

taking our tiredness to his heart,

affirming our worth

and sharing the load.

++

It’s when we forget

that he is able to do that

that we end up scurrying around

and losing touch

with the well-spring of refreshment and support.

 

He wants our burdens to be shared with him:

the honest truth of our emptiness

to be brought to him…

 

When we seek out his strength

and his transforming power,

He can do something with us and for us.

He can take the simple reality of our

“ Having nothing left in the tank”

and heal, strengthen and encourage.

 

That’s what he does.

Miracles with loaves and fishes.

Miracles with us.

Taking a little nothing -

and making a something from it.

++

MATURITY

 

And when we bring the maturity of our experience,

and the length of our years,

and the long faithful service of our love to him,

he can use that powerful resource

to work change in the world.

Wisdom combined with vision and laced with faith

is a powerful tool in the hands of God

++

And when in riper years

we find, with early retirement patterns,

and freedom from commitments and pressing responsibilities,

when we bring that gift of time and experience

to him

this is a dynamic and creative combination…

And sometimes when that plateau of maturity is reached

we find we have greater freedom with our resources.

Our home can be an open house.

Our money can be a liberating resource…that makes things happen…enables doors to be opened, new possibilities to be considered because we see our money differently now…

Our time can give an availability we never dreamt possible

when we used to be too busy to think.

++

Whatever we bring, and in our worship we bring so many things:

Our songs – our prayers – our listening…  our voice that the teacher told us years ago sounded like a crow…we bring it and he loves to hear it…

Our stumbling words and our uncertainties…

He can take those rough-edged things

and make something fine and beautiful from them…

+=

 

But that only works

When we do actually bring those things to him…

If the little lad had held on to what he had

either out of possessiveness, or a mistaken thought

that this little trifle would be of no use to the Master…

There would be no story

No miracle to savour.

++

When we clutch our problems tight in our hands

or cling possessively to our prerogatives

the miracle dies.

It just never happens.

When we come –

just as we are

with all that we have

no illusions

but also no holding back-

just wait

and see what God can do.

==

+++

I got to go there once…

Where it happened…

The feeding of the big crowd.

Not hard to imagine it…

--

So, they count the people:

More than five thousand of them.

How do you feed that lot?

=

They look at what they have

Five mealy loaves

Two measly fishes

And they ask the mocking question, the logical question:

“What are they among so many?”

=

And the answer comes

“Enough!”

=

And twelve baskets of left-overs later

The answer

“Actually, as it happens, more than enough!”

=

Our Lord does miracles with bread and fishes…

Takes the apparently inadequate resources

And makes

Not just sufficiency

But abundance!

--

What are these among so many?

Enough!

More than enough!

-

The Church… its glory days seemingly gone;

many of its vast costly building held together by hope

Its membership statistics in near free-fall

Its leadership in crisis

The church

Looks at the multitude of tasks facing it

Looks at the seemingly meagre resources at its disposal

And asks, desperately,

“What are these among so many?

=

The miracles of bread and fishes

Remind us

Assure us

That meagre as they seem

They are enough!

More than enough!

=

The Church, by the grace of God

And in the power of Christ

Can fulfil its calling

Complete its tasks…

-

The Church nationally

The Church locally

The individual Christian

Can – through the power and grace of God

do the job to which they are called.

There is a world to serve….

 

===

And that world needs us to love…

Whether it is in face of the global crises of AIDS and poverty

Or the endless calls upon our compassion from needing people

In our communities and cities:

Or simply the old neighbour,

Or frail relative

There is an ocean of need

for the kind of loving to which the Church is called…

=

And in face of this

We look into our own heart

And we wonder if we are up to it:

if we have that kind of gracious concern.

=

More often we encounter within ourselves

the shabby compassion that grudges our time

compassion fatigue

a desire to hunker down against the bitter chill of human need.

That spirit seems more to the fore

than the spontaneous, generous, unconditional caring

that people are crying out for.

Yet the whole message of the Gospels is that Jesus can take the little things

Mustard seeds

Children

Cups of wine and loaves of bread

Mealy loaves and measly fishes

And make miracles…=

=

That sometimes weary compassion

With which we respond to the crises that engulf the world.

The “Oh, no not that again!” reaction

To yet another famine, or drought, or economic injustice somewhere in the world

may seem a rather discouraging starting point for our commitment to concern and compassion

our desire to respond to that world to serve…

But when we offer our reluctant hearts to God

He can change the little thing to a wonderful thing…

He can make miracles –with whatever we bring,

however seemingly inadequate.

It’s what he does.

=

The reality is that

within the life of the Church

there is more than enough for what needs to be done!

More than enough commitment

More than enough dedication

More than enough money…

-

But the key thing to that being more than just a slogan

More than just a wistful wishful thought

Is that we need to offer it to him!

Bring it to him…

And in obedience and trust

Make these things available to him

So that he can transform them

By the power of his love and grace…

=

Lord, here is my heart

Soften it, make it tender and responsive

Gracious and open..

Take this capacity I have for caring

And use it as you will

..

Do that

Make that offering

And watch the world around you

The world you serve….

Begin to change

Begin to be healed.

There is enough in your heart

To do that

More than enough…. AMEN