Sunday, 9 August 2009

Cause for indigestion?

Reading: John 6: 35, 41-51

You are what you eat.

After a week spent 3 minutes walk away from the most amazing ice cream shop I’ve ever found, I should resemble , by now, a caramel fudge single nougat!

You are what you eat.

So what would you be?

Any suggestions?

We all know there are certain foods that just aren’t good for us.

Certain foods, usually the ones we like best of all, that we shouldn’t consume in vast quantities.

But, really – You are what you eat?

Can that be true?

Today, I’d like to suggest that, in a very positive way, we ARE what we eat – or we can be.

Jesus said: I am the bread of life.

Whoever comes to me will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

What would it mean – for us – and the folk around us if we took Jesus seriously.

If we took him up on his offer of the bread of life.

I’m sure many of you here this morning would say that we do take Jesus seriously in his offer of the bread of life.

We rely on him for sustenance as we go about our daily business.

Daily bread for daily living.

But how about taking that a step further.

Fed by God.

How does that feeding affect the way we live?

I came across a priest this week, by the name of Ron Rolheiser who links Jesus offer of the bread of life to the initiation rite of God’s prophets.

Rolheiser says:

When Israel’s great prophets are called, God initiates them through an interesting ritual.

They are asked to physically eat the scroll of the law, to eat their scriptures.

What powerful symbolism!

The idea is that they should digest the word and turn it into their own flesh so that people will be able to see the word of God in a living body rather than on a dead parchment.

The task of taking God to others is not that of handing somebody a Bible or some religious literature, but of transubstantiating God, the way we do with the food we eat.

We have to digest something and turn it, physically, into the flesh of our own bodies so it becomes part of what we look like.

If we would do this with the word of God, others would not have to read the Bible to see what God is like, they would need only to look at our faces and our lives to see God.

Transubstantiation – now there’s a word we steer away from in the Presbyterian church.

But, this morning I don’t want us to get sidetracked by communion theologies.

It would be easy, with this morning’s gospel to focus on the sacrament of communion – to focus on the broken body of Jesus and the way we remember Jesus’ sacrifice by breaking bread together.

This morning, let’s focus on Jesus as whole – offering us his whole self as the bread of life.

You are what you eat.

That takes that phrase into a whole new arena.

Jesus the bread of life.

If we are to take that seriously.

If we are to feast on that living bread, then the transformation in us would be so great that others would be able to see, reflected in us, the love and the wonder of God.

Isn’t that an awesome thought?

You and I, by regularly feasting on God and on God’s word, by taking that bread of life that Jesus offers us, by not just surface feeding but by digesting that bread of life, will be so changed that, rather than just being able to talk the bread of life, we would live the bread of life.

And, dare I say it, we would become the bread of life, able to offer others what Jesus offers us.

Yesterday, I had breakfast in a coffee shop, just a couple of doors along from the wonderful ice cream shop.

For breakfast, I had a bread tin.

It WAS a bread tin ( a 1lb loaf tin) filled with lots of different sorts of bread:

There was cinnamon bread and soda bread, some French bread, a croissant, some chocolate bread, some seeded bread – all mouth wateringly delicious

Given another week, I might have turned into a bread tin instead of an ice cream.

But, knowing that we were on our way home and knowing that this reflection needed some work, I got to thinking about varieties of bread.

And the possibility of so many varieties from very simple basic ingredients.

I am the bread of life, said Jesus.

From that basic ingredient, the bread of life, God enables us to eat, digest and be transformed in so many different ways so that we can change the world by sharing the changes that God has wrought in us.

There’s no one way of doing that.

Our digestion works in different ways, at different stages, at different speeds.

But, however and whenever the bread of life transforms us, it is our task to enable that transformation in others.

Jesus the bread of life.

Transforming you.

Transforming me.

Together – you, me and Jesus – transforming the world.

Jesus said: I am the bread of life.

Whoever comes to me will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

1 comment:

Mompriest said...

Very well done, thank you for sharing it!