Sunday 26th August
Sermon For Trinity 13 Yr B
One particularly interesting thing today is that the gospel today repeated some of last weeks gospel. This is unusual.
it may therefore help us focus on the topic of importance.
We heard last week and again this week that those who eats this bread will live forever. Today again the main thrust of what we hear is about living and life.
The disciples we are told felt that this teaching was difficult…. I wonder why they found it so difficult?
There is much in our world today which on the one level seem to compliment things Jesus was saying. We are often told or that we have the feeling that if we “did” something, took something, bought something, then life would be good. Some beers even reach the parts other beers cannot!
Our culture is driven by commercial success, the need to sell or to buy, the feeling that we should at least fit in, if not blend in.
Styles, fashions, trends, even our needs and wants, seem to be driven not by ourselves but by someone other.
The disciples found Jesus teaching difficult because like us they were focusing on the physical… the real bread the best wine. Yes it would appear that Jesus was not actually talking about that, but was rather speaking of spiritual things.
Once again he is speaking about the place we find home.. the place we need to abide in.
I spent some of this week in Glasgow at meetings. I was surrounded by people who were travelling, people who were moving from one place to another. Many were dragging huge bags and suitcases full of stuff. Some would have been trying to get home others were not.
I heard one check out assistant asking the chap in front of me where he was travlling to, and he answered he was heading home… to whch the reply was a question…. “home to relax?”
I was also struck by the number of feeding places specifically selling “food and drink on the go” one was even called, “grab it and go”
Jesus said “those who eat my bread and drink my blood abide in me”. He clearly was not talking physical food, he was trying to help people, you and I, to think of a reationship we have with God… the real palce we call home.
For far too long the church has spoken of heaven as if it were the place we head towards, whereas I really do feel that Jesus spoke about the kingdom as the place we already can live in. “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven… thy kingdom come….”
This was the place he was inviting people to abide.. to dwell.
For Jesus and his followers this place of dwelling was also the place of eating and drinking. By eating and drinking together the bread and wine of the kingdom we not only remind ourselves of our home but we also remind ourselves of the relationship we have with each other and with God.
Paul certainly picked this up when he writes to many of the churches about the way we are the body of Christ and how we are literally members of each other.
A wholly incarnational theology needs to embrace the Spirit as part of the body, the material. God is amongst us and beside us, not divided from us. God infuses creation with his Spirit, we believe this in Christ. The Spirit is life and Jesus help his followers see this.
Bruce Epperly says, “the spirit is embodied, and the body is inspired in the interplay of divine vision and human creativity… the church should become a laboratory of spiritual formation…
What we might call “reality” is certainly more than physicality and touchability. As an article in New Scientist this week notices, “the reality we experience tomorrow is the product of the mindsets we hold today”
What we believe does , and can, make a difference to the way we live.
By sharing in the Eucharist, we share in an experience of the Living God that breaks down barriers, the barriers we have built. By living Eucharistically, we seek to recognize the Living God in others.
In living a Eucharistic life, we find ways to recognise God truly with each one of us, no matter what. Jesus lived this and proclaimed it.
It was no wonder they found it difficult, but nevertheless those who were able to respond are heard asking “To who else shall we go?” and may we, with them, also recognise their response to the question….“you have the words of life, we have come to believe you are the holy one of God”