Rev. Alex Wilson
August 26, 2018
Rev. Alex Wilson

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John 6: 56-69

There is a familiar smell in the air, that yeasty, carlamizing, crusty warmth of my childhood spent at my dad’s bakery where huge industrial ovens churned out loaves of bread like water from a tap, or my mother’s kitchen on those cool fall mornings. That smell of cumbling dense, hearty bread which when slathered with butter and jam made an amazing afterschool snack. That smell of familiarity, of memory, dances around my house as I wait for yet another loaf of bread to come out of the oven. I am surprised by all these memories coming from such a fraught process, learning how to bake bread for the first time in these last few weeks by trial and error. What was even more surprising was just how much of my own story I saw in the elements of my bread and the process to bake it, something which the disciples in our gospel this morning were awakened too as well.

For John in all of this bread talk, is all about seeing God’s ability to provide for us despite our doubts and fear. Remember, for John the gospel is all about bringing us into the community of Christ- his body, in which we are enveloped the Eucharistic family. It makes sense on a human level to think that such grand promises, like Jesus is making to us in John’s gospel can’t really be as good as they sound. We face resource issues, in a similar way to the Israelite's. Limited resources, unsure options, challenging circumstances, mean we need to look after ourselves- because who else will? Yet Jesus keeps telling us about how he is the bread that will satisfy, he can take care of us. So as I was finishing the bread making processes I was astounded at how easy it was to bake bread when I finally stopped trying to over-think it. I was doing so much to psych myself out about the difficulty involved that I never really appreciated that the story of bread is actually woven into the story of my life, a story which you and I share because its main character is Christ.

Trusting that the story of the living bread is actually woven into our own is a pretty audacious statement when you think about it, but in some way I think that's why Jesus keeps telling us about how he is this bread in our lives. We look for security and stability in our achievements and social structures, yet they too are passing, leaving us with a feeling of wonder about what it is we are meant to do. Sometimes this is called a life crisis- we might change jobs suddenly, buy a flashy car, look for a new outlet to feel secure and stable. Yet Christ here is calling us into a deeper relationship with him in a way that feeds, honours, supports who and what we are. Why? Because Christ took on our flesh, felt our pain and joy, breathed and ate just like us. The story of the living bread, always points us into Christ because in Christ’s humanity we start to see ourselves. But what do we do about it?

Our lives are busy, we work hard to live in this city. We have families and obligations, so how does a living bread factor into our everyday? Through balanced prayer, which for Christians is called a rule of life. A rule, or way of life, is a way of looking at our lives in order to see our lives through God’s eyes. While a rule sounds like hard work, when we look at the yearnings of our lives the language is already there. Think about your own life for a moment, think about the yearnings you have. Maybe its more time to pray, taking up an art pursuit, being more social, seeing nature- all of which are about engendering a deeper relationship with ourselves and the world around us which is suffused with Gods presence. We’ve been building a sense of this way of life here in this parish over the summer. We we’ve been praying through those places in our life where we see the water, yeast, flour and salt of the Eucharistic life that Jesus has been calling us to live in the world we can start to deepen our awareness of God’s presence in everything we do. Through attention to our areas of

  • Self-Care: Carve out space for yourself in your schedule where you are fed emotionally.
  • Learn: Reflect on scripture and wrestle with the life of Christ everyday
  • Share: Share your faith, invite others into this transformative life
  • Worship: Be in community weekly to give and receive in order to be differently in the world.

We begin to find balance through recognition that in Gods total presence around us, like the disciple in our gospel this morning, there is no one else we can turn to for what we are seeking because in Jesus we find a reflection of who we are. You and I, as humans, seek to know that we are loved, that we are accepted, that we are known. In Christ we see those gifts reflected back to us in the words (his humanity) of eternal life. You and I are called this week to lean more deeply into our Eucharistic life of Self-care, Leaning, Sharing, and worship, to see with our own eyes the living bread of God’s presence in our life. How will you answer that call this week?