Rev. Alex Wilson
August 19, 2018
Rev. Alex Wilson
Vicar

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Reference

John 6: 51-58

I don’t think this is working….. I wonder what I did, because this just does not look right. It’s supposed to be double the size that it is, nice and bouncy and spring to the touch. As I quickly look back at the bread recipe I was using, i start to try and troubleshoot. Maybe the yeast was dead, but it wasn’t expired. Maybe the ratios were off, did I add too much salt? Maybe the oven temperature was too warm, or the house too cold. Its so confusing, I’ve never done this before and I feel so lost trying to troubleshoot something I am unfamiliar with. Yeast bread isn’t the easiest thing to make, as much as it seems like it. I was hoping for this large beautiful loaf of crusty fluffy goodness, and instead I got this wonderfully dense and crusty loaf of Whole wheat rosemary and black pepper bread. It was my first loaf, so I expected coming from a line of bakers that it would be great! And while the loaf was not what I imagined, it was still edible, with a glorious golden crust and dense almost sourdough crumb- but it left me wanting something more, something closer to the idea of bread I had in my head. This wanting more, this incorporation of different ingredients into something bigger is something I think we share with our gospel this morning.

Jesus, in John’s Gospel, spends a lot of time telling us all about bread these last few weeks. I am the bread of life, I am the living bread. I am the manna from heaven. Jesus is telling us how he is all these things through his body, a body which brings us out from our isolation and into the community of the church. John’s gospel can so easily be read as individualistic in all the I statements it makes, suggesting that its a personal relationship with Christ alone that brings us into the presence of God. Yet by his humanity, and the nature of the bread which is his very body which we eat, we are drawn into the Eucharistic family of the church. In this Eucharistic family, a term which literally means to give thanks, we embrace our natures as God’s chosen witnesses in and to a world which needs to hear the story of the Gospel with the vigor and passion we believe it here in this place. Yet, there is something about being part of a Eucharistic family that can feel unusual and uncertain. Wouldn’t it be nice if things were just perfect and turned out great every time? This hope for perfection is something woven throughout the gospels and brought to fruition in Christ directly.

So why are we here? Are we hoping for some distant salvation, an idea that we can rack up goodness now to cash in later? Or is this about the here and now, about finding and experiencing the kingdom already at work in our midst? Its hard to know, as there is this tension present between our lives and the gospel, isn't there? This call of the Gospel to proclaim Jesus, who through the nourishment of his Body, gives us the ability to live life beyond these walls. But what is our life beyond these walls? Christ always surprises us with the life he invites us into, turning our doubt into the yeast of new life. This life is one of relationship, in which God wants to be so deeply involved in our lives he gives us his very flesh to sustain us in our life today. Just like in baking, where all parts are in relationship to each other to produce something which can sustain life- remember yeast is a living organism- and it needs the right balance of warmth, food and flour to grow and develop into a loaf of bread which is edible. So how do we find that balance in our own lives? We listen.

When we listen with our lives, especially when baking, we can feel where things are in sync and out of sync. When we have added too much salt, hoping for a greater flavour, or too much heat- hoping to speed up the process, the end result does not turn out the way we want it. Too much of this and we kill the living yeast in our lives, our passion is gone. When we feel the yeast working in our own lives, which we call the Spirit, we start to see glimmers of the relationship we are called to live. Our relationship between work and pleasure, mundane and extra-ordinary, tasks and choices, suddenly fit together into a beautiful and life giving bread which Jesus gives us. This incorporation of ourselves, the flour, salt, yeast and water of our lives, brings us closer to God, by showing us just how it all comes from God in the first place. But how can we listen for and incorporate these leavening agents in our everyday? We pray

Develop a prayer life which spans the whole of your day. From the moment you wake to the moment you fall asleep, listen with the ear of your heart for the presence of Christ in your midst. There is no magical formula to prayer. It can be as simple as saying the name of Jesus, or the Lord’s Prayer. It can include a ritual or not. Candles, Rosary and icons are optional. Trust that your life carries the story of prayer within the woven textures of your soul, just as we are able to talk to one another- we are able to pray, because prayer is the same as talking to a best friend of spouse. While there are many ways to do this, here's one suggestion for us to continue in our prayer and see what it leavens within us.

Hold on your heart, throughout your day, the name of Jesus. Find moments from the first sip of coffee in the morning, to the glorious sunset at night, or the beginning of a meeting, or the end of your work day, to recognize Christ in the midst of it all. As you pause in these moments, say to yourself “thank you Jesus.” In the gratitude for that moment we begin to incorporate the eternal bread of Christ into our everyday lives, bread which is present all around and within us.

In praying with our lives in this way, we continue to grow and incorporate the pieces of our lives into the promise of life Christ gives us today in the bread of eternity- which is a living relationship with him. Jesus is calling you and I into a relationship of prayer which leavens the world and unites us to God in Christ. How will you respond with your life this week?