It is the tenth Sunday after Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis” (I had much grief). This cantata provides the music for both this week and the next, with Part 1 heard today, and the conclusion heard next week.
Today’s Gospel reading is John 6:1-21.
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, 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 said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
Jesus Walks on the Water
When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.
The prescribed reading takes up the miracles of Jesus feeding the five thousand and walking on the water, which were skipped over in last week’s prescribed reading from the Gospel according to Mark. I have included the Gospel of these miracles according to Mark on a separate page, here — so that if you wish, you can compare Mark’s version of the story to John’s.
The text of today’s piece is available here. Here are words from Part 1 which, like Jesus’s miracles, reflect God’s ability to provide strength and comfort to those who are in deep distress, and who might feel that they have been abandoned. The words remind us that God will be there even at our most troubled times:
I had much trouble in my heart; but your consolations revive my soul.
. . . .
What? have You therefore, my God,
in my trouble,
in my fear and despair,
turned completely away from me?
Ah! do You not know Your child?
Ah! do You not hear the cries
of those, that are Yours
by covenant and faith?
. . . .
Why do you trouble yourself, my soul, and are so restless in me? Wait for God; for I will yet thank Him, since He is the help of my countenance and my God.
The deep suffering reflected in Part 1, this week, gives way to trust in God and a hymn of praise in Part 2 — which comes next week.
Stay tuned, and as always:
[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]