A Modern Day Miracle?

For the last nine months I have had the joy of working in Johnstown with the people of Our Mother of Sorrows parish.  In particular, we have had an incredible experience together taking and then facilitating the Alpha Course.  We are in the midst of our third course and God has produced amazing results through our team.  I marvel at how God provides for our 150 or more guests each week with a full meal followed by a video teaching and small group discussions.  It is quite an operation that has had a profound impact on a lot of people!

Wouldn’t it be cool if I could share with you a miracle that occurred on our Alpha Course? …just like the loaves and the fishes story?

The stone altar and the mosaic of the fish and loaves of bread in the Church of the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes at Tabgha.                           Photograph: Yael Alef 2007

The stone altar and the mosaic of the fish and loaves of bread in the Church of the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes at Tabgha.                         Photograph: Yael Alef 2007

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near.  When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”  He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do.  Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Now there was a great deal of grass in that place.  So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.  Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.  John 6:1-15

According to John’s Gospel Jesus had already performed a couple of miracles prior to this point.   The disciples had seen evidence of Jesus’ power but were not prepared for Jesus’ latest test of their faith.  “No way!” Philip declares regarding the potential cost of feeding 5000.  Then Andrew points to the five loaves and two fish with the seemingly rhetorical question, “…what good are these for so many?”  They soon find out that with Jesus they need much bigger expectations.   

No, our Alpha Course hasn’t produced a loaves and fishes kind of miracle.  However, if you had talked with our team seven months ago and said that they would be a part of this amazing experience of running this course for several hundred people I am guessing they would say “No way!”  Or maybe some version of “what good are we?”  But the reality is that they all stepped forward in faith and something really special has been happening at Our Mother of Sorrows (OMOS) in Johnstown. 

Jesus has shown up and He is taking care of the multitudes through His OMOS disciples.   Give Him the opportunity to do so with you.  Willingly present your “loaves and fishes” in faith and watch Him work.

Click here to visit the OMOS website with a video description of the Alpha Course by Nicky Gumbel.