Fish in the Wilderness

We are those who followed Jesus and the Disciples out into that Wilderness: a wilderness in a country of Gentiles, a place where people have not yet heard or embraced the Gospel; and, a place where we will experience that renewal and that deepening of relationship with God we all need to fulfill the call upon our lives. So, why feed us bread and fish?

"The Miracle of the Bread and Fish" by Giovanni Lanfranco, 1620-23
“The Miracle of the Bread and Fish” by Giovanni Lanfranco, 1620-23

Sermon: “Fish in the Wilderness”
Delivered at ARK Community Church, Dalton MA
7th Sunday after Pentecost: August 3, 2014.

Scripture readings:
Isaiah 55:1-5 (from “The Message”)
Matthew 14:13-23 (from “The Message”)


The “Feeding of the Five Thousand” is the only miraculous sign found in all four Gospels. What’s more, Mark and Matthew each have two variations, for a total of 6 versions in the Four Gospels.

Clearly, the early church saw this story as central to their faith, and therefore it is central to ours. Many ask “How did this Miracle come about?” And there are a number of explanations as to the “How” of this story. Some claim it is a true miracle, others say it isn’t, many say it doesn’t really matter whether it was a miracle or not.

But for me, the central question is not how (or if) this miracle happened, but “Why is it important?”

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A Little Faith

Presented at Memorial Congregational Church, Sudbury, Massachusetts, August 7, 2011.

Scriptures: I Kings 19:9-18 and Matthew 14:22-33

The other day, while running errands in my car, I encountered a timid driver.  You know the type: hesitating at intersections, driving slow or speeding up unexpectedly.  These drivers start to do one thing, and then without warning change their mind.  If they’re at a stop sign, you don’t know whether to go, or wait for them.  If they’re trying to make a turn, you don’t know whether to go around them, or not, because you know they might suddenly turn right in front of you.

It would be far better for everyone, including themselves, if these people would just make a choice and go with it, rather than second guessing themselves and changing their minds.  They don’t project confidence, don’t clearly indicate their intentions and leave us guessing as to how to respond.

These drivers seem to have no faith in the choices they are making.  Maybe they’re unsure of where they’re going, or perhaps they’re afraid of the consequences of making a wrong choice.  When they do choose, they change their minds the second there is any reason to doubt the decision they’ve made.

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