You start with the text of course, waiting for the Word of God to catch something in your imagination, feeling around for the idea that will not be put aside, like the small stone in a shoe that won’t be shaken out and makes its presence felt over and over. Once the idea is lodged firm then come the questions of practicalities. On a hillside, a crowd came, and gathered to listen, and looking at them, Jesus asked: “where will we buy food to feed all this people?”
As we got planning for Greenbelt an idea lodged firm, and then we – like Philip – saw a practicalities puzzle. It is not too tricky to serve a cream tea to 150 people in a room next door to a kitchen. But what to do with an unknown and uncapped number of guests outside on a field without even a sink nearby. Like the disciples, we will find ourselves with less than everything we might want to serve: more than five barley loaves and two fish – there are scones, jam and cream in plenty – but we won’t have an urn or hot water nearby and as Philip asked “what good is that for a crowd like this?” So we’re hoping people will bring their own cuppa, as we hope they will bring their imaginations, openness to strangers, and openness to God. And if enough people bring any or all of these, there will indeed be a banquet to share.