Jesus said to the people, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." They were saying, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, `I have come down from heaven'?" Jesus answered them, "Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." John 6:35, 41-51
We have a house full of family and a baptism this afternoon. Lillian Eileen Ringer will join the family in a new way, the larger family of God, those baptized with water and the holy Spirit, an enormous and expanding human family, full of life, noise and diversity beyond imagining. Our little microcosm is diverse and complicated, like all families, and the joy we share despite the irritation we cause one another, is something to be celebrated thoroughly. A living, breathing mess of love and expression and God is with us.
The ongoing discussion about bread in John's Gospel, reminds of about the complexity and diversity of the family of God. When Jesus came in their midst, there were multiple ways of understanding bread, messiah and all the promises of God. Confusion reigned at times in the diversity. And Jesus said to them that he was there, right there, in the midst of the mess, the confusion and all the complications of life, for then and for eternity. God promises to be right here, feeding us and drawing us together, no matter how complicated and overwhelming life becomes.
Today, as our little family gathers, I ask God to feed us with the bread of life, with the food and drink of forgiveness and kindness, so that, as we welcome Lilly into the family of God, we are renewed and made whole together. May all of us, members all in the family of God, be renewed and made whole this day by a new outpouring of God's spirit upon us all. May we be filled up to overflowing so that love and compassion guide us through each waking hour.