Sermon: I am the bread of Life

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Preached on 9th August 2015
(United Summer Service)
by Revd Gary Ridley

Lectionary Reading:  John Ch. 6 verses 35; 41-51                                          

THEME:    I am the Bread of Life    John Ch. 6 verse 35

Sermon Reflections

 The Feeding of the 5000 is one of the signs or symbols in John’s Gospel which points to a deeper truth or revelation. Following the miracle, Jesus goes on to describe Himself as the “Bread of Life which he gives for the life of the world”. The same actions Jesus performed when he took the bread to feed the multitude are the same actions he performed at the last Supper. In both instances, He took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it. But there are other similarities between the two events worth considering. What we see in both instances is a shared meal, although the number of people   involved was very different (5000 on the first occasion and 12 on the other). Nonetheless we are reminded that the Sacrament of Communion anchors us in community. This is a shared meal

celebrated at the invitation of Christ. We did not choose this community. It comes with following Jesus. We are part of something much bigger than ourselves. Communion is not a private meal with God.

Think back over memorable meals you have shared with others: perhaps a family celebration, an intimate time of deep sharing or a meal in an unusual setting with good company. Dwell on and enjoy the qualities of sharing food with others. Perhaps make some plans to do it again soon.

Jesus spoke about the importance of living each day as it comes. He taught His disciples to pray:

“Give us this day our daily bread.”  The Israelites wondering in the desert were instructed to take just enough manna for the day’s need and no more. They were quick to complain about the monotony of their new diet instead of giving thanks that it would keep them alive. Freed from slavery, they chose to enslave themselves to worrying about bread.

What is enough for the day?

Are we able in today’s culture, to deal with one day at a time? We tend always to be planning ahead and worry about tomorrow?

Is there a lesson to be learned about coming to God each day and asking Him to help us to meet the needs of the day, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually too?      

The Israelites wandered through the desert for 40 years. The actual distance they covered could have been made in a fraction of the time. Does complaining hinder our journey with God, and hold us back from where he wants us to be?

        

There is something wonderfully down to earth about the Sacrament of Holy Communion. It doesn’t matter what we are thinking or feeling. It does not depend on us. We reach out with empty hands and Christ comes to us and longs to speak and give to us. Therefore, something is given and received.

Imagine your hands open before him – in self-offering and to receive from Him. Take time to listen and ask Him to speak.

The word “sacrament” can refer to other times of special consecration. Our friends in the Roman Catholic tradition recognise several different Christian sacraments.

Are there other moments, events or places in your life that you remember as having a sacramental quality, and that have spoken to you of God’s presence and blessing in a significant way?     

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