Jesus said, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever." He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?" But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, "Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father."
Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?" Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." John 6:56-69
We have had the great joy of a visit from a long time friend and her grandson. We've been friends for nearly 40 years. It was a delight to sit an visit until the wee hours, talking and laughing, remembering old times and sharing the challenges of our lives. Being parents and grand parents, there was much hard ship to share. There were tons of blessings and successes too. Living life for the ones we love and offering love to the broken and needy, we are challenged every day. Loving is difficult, disciplining and training up children is difficult, helping grown children is forever challenging and sharing our stories always lightens the load.
Jesus was telling his disciples things they did not want to hear. They thought following God and loving others should be easy. We all want it easy but truly loving is hard work. We have to forfeit our fake dreams and become our real selves. We have to put aside the fantasy of perfect parenting and live into full blown tough reality of loving always, especially when it is hard. God invites us to see our challenges as part of following, part of the work that is God's and ours to share.
Today I ask God to help me live every day girded for the the work of love. May we all live in the service of others, knowing our work is loving others beyond the daily hurdles, struggles and grave disappointments.