Matthew 14:13-21, New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
Jesus Feeds Five Thousand
13 Jesus heard what had happened to John. He wanted to be alone. So he went in a boat to a quiet place. The crowds heard about this. They followed him on foot from the towns. 14When Jesus came ashore, he saw a large crowd. He felt deep concern for them. He healed their sick people.
15When it was almost evening, the disciples came to him. “There is nothing here,” they said. “It’s already getting late. Send the crowds away. They can go and buy some food in the villages.”
16Jesus replied, “They don’t need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18“Bring them here to me,” he said. 19Then Jesus directed the people to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up to heaven and gave thanks. He broke the loaves into pieces. Then he gave them to the disciples. And the disciples gave them to the people. 20All of them ate and were satisfied. The disciples picked up 12 baskets of leftover pieces. 21The number of men who ate was about 5,000. Women and children also ate.
Supplies: Have everyone in the congregation (either in-person or virtually) print, color and cut out a picture of a fish and a loaf of bread. If you meet in person, you can prepare enough pictures to hand out before the worship service. The pictures need to be big enough so that children can see them when the pictures are held up. The leader needs to have his or her own copy of fish and bread to show the children. Here are suggestions of sites to find pictures:
Tell the story of the fish and loaves:
When Jesus was on earth, he preached a lot. He told stories about God to people in many different places. Sometimes he would preach from a boat to people standing on the shore. Sometimes he would preach outdoors on a hillside. People would crowd around him; they loved to hear Jesus preach about God’s love.
One day, he was preaching to a huge crowd—lots of people. There were five thousand men, plus just as many women and children. It got to be evening, and the people had not eaten.
The disciples got worried that all the people would get hungry. They told Jesus to send the people home so that they could get something to eat.
Jesus told the disciples they didn’t need to send the people away, and he told the disciples to give the people something to eat.
The disciples focusing on what they didn’t have said they only had two fish and five loaves of bread. That wouldn’t be enough.
Jesus, focusing on God’s presence, took the basket with the bread and fish and said a prayer. He then divided the bread and fish and shared the food with all the people.
And shared… (Have some in congregation hold up their pictures.)
And shared… (Have more hold up their pictures.)
And shared… (Have even more hold up pictures until all the pictures are being held up.)
Until everybody had enough. (Look around and allow children to see that everyone has “been fed.”)
And then they all said: “Thank God!”
Instead of focusing on what we don’t have, how can we focus on God’s presence and what God can do?
Prayer: God of love, we are grateful for all the gifts you give us. Help us to share with others. Amen.