The Bread of Life: Second Movement
The Bread of Life discourse continues this week as Jesus moves deeper into the meaning of who he is.
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
What does it mean to never be hungry or thirsty? We have two clues from John’s Gospel.
The first clue comes from the woman at the well. The Samaritan woman that Jesus meets at the well outside her town brings her bucket to draw water in the middle of the day. Jesus asks her for a drink, then later tells her that if she knew whom she was talking to, she would ask him for a drink of living water and never thirst again. She replies that he should give her this living water so that she would not have to keep coming back to this well. (see John 4)
After more conversation and revelation, the woman goes back to her village to bring everyone to see Jesus, and she leaves her bucket behind. She has found the living water.
And here the disciples in John 6 have been challenged to provide bread for the people, which Jesus provides, and there was way more than they needed.
Now, Jesus is not just talking about physical bread and water, but rather about himself. “I am.” He is the living bread, he will say later in John 6. And he is the living water. He brings life and light into the world.
But how do we get this living bread? this living water? How do we take the life of Jesus into us?
There are a number of possible answers to this question, but the one that I am homing in on this week is that we live like Jesus tells us to live. We avoid judgement of others but love deeply God, our neighbors, and our selves. We make our lives an offering to others as Christ made himself an offering for us.
We make an offering when we are generous with others, when we forgive sins, when we offer a ride, give a gift, even greet someone with real affection.
During this season of COVID it has been easy to pull back and in like a spiritual turtle. We go into our shells and think of ourselves and our safety. We have been encouraged to do so.
But I would offer that this is not for us who follow Jesus. We are re-created in Christ to think of others. We may do the same things, social distancing and mask wearing, but we do it for a totally different set of reasons. And we have to work to be Christ-minded about the world, thinking of others, greeting people, and being quick to forgive at a time when that is not the way of the world.
No matter what happens next, we must not starve ourselves of the Bread of Life, because the stuff the world has to offer does not satisfy for long. So join us Sunday as we take the bread of life in communion, in fellowship, and in serving others.
As we come together at church, there are a few things to consider. The CDC has asked us to be masked when indoors during this surge with the Delta variant of COVID19. Please bring your mask with you, and we will provide masks as well.
With Christ Church School starting back up, we are also asking people to mask up when in common areas during the week.
Not one person I know is excited about this, but we are committed to being a safe place here at Christ Church of the Ascension, and I appreciate your continued support and love of each other.
The Very Rev. Daniel Paul Richards
Christ Church of the Ascension
Paradise Valley, Arizona