Loaves and Fishes

So back to work today. Four weeks off was wonderful – the problem is that we could have perfectly happily carried on for another four.

But St John’s, Forfar, called – a visit in advance of the retirement of Revd Andy McCafferty at the end of this month. The congregation is aware that Andy’s ministry has been special in many ways – the congregation want to know if I can produce another priest just like him.

One of the things which I have done in recent years is to learn to appreciate miracles of grace. The Scottish Episcopal Church teaches you that – one of the things which is a ‘make or break’ in the ministry of many of our clergy is whether they learn to do much with little. So today’s Gospel Reading – the Feeding of the Five Thousand – is special for us. This is some of what I said:

The gospel reading today offers us a pattern for the life of the Christian community and for its ministry which is very important. Jesus and the disciples are faced with 5000 hungry people and almost no food to give them. He takes the bread, gives thanks and breaks it – and they share it and share it and share it. That story belongs in what we sometimes call the miracles of grace. The Casting the Net/miraculous catch of fish is another of them. It is about the way in which by God’s grace ministry, faith and service grow as they are shared.

That becomes a pattern for us – for the life of the church. Resources are always slender. There will never be enough. The future will always look uncertain. The needs and the challenges will always look limitless. So we are called to miracles of grace – that we set out prayerfully and faithfully to do God’s will, to minister to his people, to gather people in – and the miracle is that there will aways be enough grace and love to go round. Indeed there will be more than enough.

If you want to read the whole of it and to find out what I think about how clergy are chosen and appointed ….. it’s here