Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”John 6:27-40
Today is the ninth anniversary of my consecration as bishop. It is a time for me to reflect on my ministry and pray for God's guidance for the next steps in following Christ. I happen to live in a great place for reflecting. Out walking the other afternoon, I was looking at the growth along the beach entrance. It looked dead, beyond dead. It was white and gray and would make a great background for a horror movie. The next day was dark and stormy and the foliage and the sky would scare anybody. This same foliage, despite how it looks today, is lush with green leaves in the summer and produces wonderful cover from the sun. Mixed in are beach plum bushes, which we harvest, so that my Mom can make the sweetest jelly. Sometimes it is important to remember that Jesus reminds us all that he will lose nothing or no one that his father has given to Jesus' care. No matter how complicated and rough our paths might be, no matter how fruitless our efforts might have seemed, God has given to a wondrous caretaker, one who will bring an abundance of fruit in season.
Jesus tells the gathering crowd about being truly feed from the bread of life. He reminds them that God has given him the role of savior and caretaker of us all, and that despite our anxiety and concern, he will provide for our bellies and for our every need. Our job is to believe and trust and to put all our cares upon him. Despite how it looks today, abundant or withered, full or on empty, strong or weak, we are cared for and guided, even when we are blind to God's care for us.
Today I ask God to renew my faith and to help me to entrust Christ with my whole life and ministry. May I celebrate this anniversary of ministry knowing that each moment is in Christ's hands and that my ministry, in all of it's phases are gifts from a loving God, who promises to guide, care and fill me to overflowing, every day. May we all rejoice in the promise of this loving care and know that none of us is lost or left behind, but tenderly held in loving hands.