Sunday, August 1, 2021

Bread of Life - John 6

Bread of Life

Tony E Dillon-Hansen

1 Aug 2021

Reflection based upon John 6:24-35, John 4, Psalm 78, and  Ephesians 4:1-16

Opening prayer

Beloved, I have told somethings about my grandmother, and today, I will share one more with you  My grandmother used to make an awesome bread that had to eat the crust and all- was great with her homemade jam and butter .. oh it could be described as “bread to die for.” 

I remember the flour drawer, how quickly she could take water and yeast and within a few minutes have span in the oven.  The whole house would fill with aroma of baking - even on a hot day, you knew something good was coming.

It was so good you ate the crust, especially paired with her awesome jams. It’s not like whole crowds would come to share in the bread (although with our family size, you might describe that as a crowd).  

I never learned Grandma’s recipe, and as much as I rave about her cooking, she would not compare her bread to that which Jesus gives.

Her bread is brief sustenance or may go bad (e.g. perish), but maybe the focus is upon the wrong things. Her awesome cooking lasted us couple hours; Jesus gives us bread of life. Jesus gives life.

First Jesus challenges the crowd “you are looking for me, not because you saw signs but because you ate your fill of the loaves.”  Grandma or I can bake wonderful, but I don’t have a crowd running after me for them.  That is what Jesus observes here. There are misunderstandings that Jesus means to clear up.

To help us understand this misunderstanding, let’s look at another text.  Today, I invite you to see the parallels from John 4 with the woman at the well.

I love this dialog between Jesus and the woman that comes out to draw water from the well.  Jesus is just sitting there, he tells her to “give me a drink,” and they have curious conversation about faith.  She challenges how can you ask me to draw water for you. Jesus says if you knew God, you would ask for living water instead. She inquires about this “living water” - where do you get it?

Jesus tells the woman, that everyone who drinks of the water from the well will be thirsty again, but the water I give will bring “a spring of water gushing up to eternal life” (4:13-14).  

The woman beckons “…give me this water so that I may never be thirsty …” (4:15)  

After this conversation, she questions how we find God, and Jesus tells her “God is spirit and those who worship [God] must worship in spirit and truth.”  There it is.

She lets Jesus fill her heart and proceeds to tell everyone to come witness Jesus for themselves.  “You gotta see this.”

Similarly, Jesus answers in this in the Bread of Life discourse “Do not work for the food that perishes.” (6:27) The crowd asks Jesus to give this bread always. (6:34)

Jesus reminds us that the bread we eat is perishable, but the bread from Heaven is much more than just grain meld.  Jesus says, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry and … will never be thirsty.”  Jesus answers the people in the crowd and the woman at the well with reflexive - “I am.” 

The uniqueness of Jesus is the presence of God embodied. Jesus’s whole life in John institutes the Eucharist.

Throughout John’s Gospel, Jesus invites us to use our senses to help find the spirit working - in tasting the great wines at the wedding (2:10), quenching our thirsts from living waters (4:10), blind gaining sight (9:11), the fragrant perfumes used by Mary to anoint Jesus’s feet (12:3), and hearing difficult teachings about the truth and life “..for I came not to judge the world but to save [it]” (12:47). Jesus reminds us that feeling is ok - just like a woman giving birth, the hour comes when the child is born, anguish turns into joy. (16:21)

Jesus helps us to use our senses to find God’s spirit in many ways. We may not always get God, but God gets us.

God answered Moses’s question by saying “YHWH” or “I am.” Jesus directly references this, but moreso, Jesus helps us to find God inside of us. Jesus reminds us that great presence is intimately inside us. Let God tickle your heart.

We all look for explanations.  In everything there is a season, you can witness God right there all along - teaching and guiding us. In some things, it is difficult to witness something so great, but when we give time and space, we can witness God when we let God flourish in us. We can search and find there is so much revealed for us.

Let that majesty be what you feel -right here. When you sip beverage, taste the presence that is there.  When you share a meal (or bread) with people, witness the spirit moving among you. When you smell aromas, let your nose help you find God in the space between the spaces.  When you see grace, don’t avert your eyes. Let God reveal to you how beautiful this world is. When you hug your spouse and children, witness God’s presence in the touch of compassion, love and grace.

When the crowd and the woman asks, give us this bread always (or this water). Jesus responds God already has. We may feel flawed, broken and messy but you see beloved, God has perfect recipes and made you!

God has given you life, all the joys to answer your struggles, and all that you need to quench your thirsts. 

Yes God made us in her image as her children. And together we make God’s community. “God in me recognizes God in you.”

Every day you wake, God is there. God is life, the bread of life - our daily bread - Not just words we say in prayer but life. The question for you is do you believe it, and will you let God’s bread be yours?

These are the necessary ingredients that you have been looking for, and Grandma doesn’t need to slave over hot ovens for it. This does not have a shelf life. You dont have to be in hurry or worry to get your share because God gives the bread of life for all of us. That is all you need. You, made from the perfect recipe!

Let your soul be nourished and fulfilled. 

Let God be your living waters and bread of life!

Let God be with you and sustain you.

Thanks Be to God. 

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