Being Well Fed
Being Well Fed
Our passages today focus on reconciliation, the hard work of forgiveness. It might not look that way at first glance, as the passages have more finger pointing in them than words of forgiveness. However, if you dig deeper you will find that the theme of forgiveness and the restoration of relationships is at the heart of the passage.
Scripture: John 6: 24-35
Once again we appreicate the work and diligence of choir members Brian MacInnes, Rob Lenters, Janet Leadbeater and Diana Carr for leading us in the singing of our hymns.
A reminder that we intend to return to in person worship on Sunday Septberm 12th. More details will be forthcoming.
The ladies of the Church that we are still gathering for an informal meeting on the second Tues of the month (Aug 10th) under the covered picnic area at the east side of Victoria Park.
The Children’s Story today is from Ministy to Children. You can access the full program on the Ministry to Children website or watch the Youtube video below.
Being Well Fed
The crowd that is following Jesus around doesn’t seem to know who they are following. Prior to our passage from today is the feeding of the 5000. The crowd that we see in today’s reading has previously been fed by Jesus. Apparently, they are looking for another free meal because they sail across the lake to Capernaum in search of Jesus!
After finding Jesus there is a brief exchange where Jesus chastises them for searching for food that will perish. That they should good work.
The crowd asks, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus responds to them, not with a laundry list of tasks, but simply to “believe in the one God has sent.”
The crowd then does the most outrageous thing and asks Jesus, what sign will be given for us to see the one that God sent?
Have you caught the trap that John has laid in this gospel account? The sign was already delivered to the crowd when Jesus fed them at the beginning of John 6. Now we come to this section in John where Jesus will declare, “I am the bread of life.”
John has taken us full circle with a story about a miraculous feeding of the crowd, to a hungry crowd wanting more, but not just another meal, they want to be truly fed! They ask how can we be fed, what is the sign we need to seek and of course we know that sign is standing right there before them.
The crowd was too busy looking for morsels of bread, that they fail to see that the source of the bread is right there before them. It’s a bit like the old adage you can’t see the forest of the trees. The answer that the crowd sought was in Jesus. The meal they were seeking wasn’t a physical one, but rather one which would nourish their souls.
The crowd which was fed by Jesus in the feeding of the 5000 all have full bellies, it’s their hearts that are empty. They have sought the temporary, when they should be seeking the eternal. Even in asking Jesus to deliver a sign, they are still stuck on something temporary not fully grasping the opportunity that is before them.
Jesus reminds them not to work for food that perishes, but to seek things of subsistence that will carry us through. It should be noted that as we move through this passage, we quickly move from the crowd wanting another meal to them being directed to something more by Jesus. At no point is Jesus saying, stop eating and you’ll be provided for, instead he asks the crowd if they might be seeking for something of more substance out of life.
John seeks to convey to us that Jesus is the bread of life.
Always give us this bread the crowd begs, pleads! As we too should ask for the bread of life. And it’s really easy and really challenging.
Easy because all we need to do is come to Jesus, sit at his feet and learn from him. Which is probably what also makes it challenging, because we often think we know best. We think that to do the work of God, is to get busy doing ‘the work’! Our Protestant work ethic tells us to get to it! However, in this instance all Jesus says is come to me.
When we sit at the feet of Jesus we change. We drop our apprehension and expectation, we change. When we let go of our preconceived notions and ideas, we change.
Sitting at the feet of Jesus, we soak up his wisdom. We go from being a part of the crowd that is simply hungry for another meal, towards a community that understands a deeper truth. We go from being people seeking a meal, to people who can provide a meal. And this is where the action comes, not that every church should run a soup kitchen or donate to the local food bank. It’s bigger than that, because the meal that we are concerned with serving isn’t one that feeds bellies, but souls.
Which is where the active part of the work starts. Jesus fed that crowd because they were legitimately hungry to do less wouldn’t have been right. Much of what Jesus spoke and taught about were what we might call justice issues. Every act of healing Jesus did pointed to the inequities that existed in society at that time.
“We can believe in justice as a thing,” says artist and theologian, Elizabeth Gray King. “We can believe in love and care and kindness and humility. But until we start living and acting as love, living out that care, graciously spilling over with kindness and working with others in humility as compared to power, a belief is just a belief, almost an object to be admired … Believing in resurrection is ok. Living resurrection is quite another thing.” (Working Preacher)
After we come to Jesus and sit at his feet, learn from him we start seeing the world a little bit differently. Following the resurrected Christ means change. The resurrection by its very nature says the current world order is unjust and that requires us to live another way.
But first, we must come before he who is the Bread of Life, sit at his feet and fill the emptiness that lies within. Amen.
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Cobourg is part of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. The congregation was established in 1833 and continues to serve the community.
St. Andrew’s supports the gathering of community agencies, providing space for the Affordable Housing Committee. Rev. Ellis’ voice is key in advocating for improvements in awareness, empathy and action on key determinants such as housing, income and food security.
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