Friday, August 19, 2016

The Bread Of Life

Jesus said, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform 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, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which 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 will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; 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. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.” John 6:27-40 

Our granddaughter went to church with us last Sunday. She informed me that she did not want to drink the "beer" she had the last time. I told her she did not have to or she could dip the wafer in the wine as it went by. She chose to dip and then returned to her seat to describe how bland and sticky the wafer was. She was confused and wanted explanations of why we do what we do.It is always important to see our rituals through the eyes and experience of those who do not regularly participate. We so often talk of Jesus as the bread of Life and then offer bland wafers and yucky "beer" to symbolize the transcendent incarnate presence of Jesus.

The disciples and followers of Jesus were confused by his language as well. They saw thousands fed to overflowing and thought they had finally gotten to the point where they did not have to worry over where their next meal was coming from. Humans ache for security and mostly we think very concretely. Jesus wanted them to see the larger picture, God's constant and abiding love for them. They wanted tangible assurances. Jesus wanted them to know that they would not be lost, they were truly provided for and yet they wanted simpler explanations and some guarantees. We are no different. God invites us today to not worry about the details because God is truly in charge and we will be fed and cared for. The promise still holds, "I will lose nothing of all the is given me."

Today I ask God to help me let go out anxiety over details and trust God with the solutions. May we not spend our time in worry but trust God to find a way through the darkest moments and abundant resources amidst our scarcity and fear.

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