Collect and Readings for The Ninth Sunday after Trinity 1st August 2021 Year B – 2 Samuel 11: 26-12:13a, Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15, Psalm 51:1-12, Psalm 78:23-29, Ephesians 4:1-16, John 6:24-35;
The Prayer for todayAlmighty God, who sent your Holy Spirit to be the life and light of your Church: open our hearts to the riches of your grace, that we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in love and joy and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
In the reading from Exodus, the people were finding that their hunger was dampening their pioneering spirit considerably, and the provision of quails and manna saved the day, as well as proclaiming God's care for his people.
Most of us start getting irritable and short tempered when our bodies need food. Complicated and demanding decisions are always best left until after a meal, rather than trying to rush into them when we return home weary and hungry. In mountain climbing the hot drinks and food are first on the agenda when setting up camp at the end of the day. I am sure that we are all deeply affected by the appalling sight of real hunger and starvation.Since we all have bodies which run on the fuel of food, we all instictively know the importance of feeding, right from screaming our hunger at birth. Food is simply a matter of life and death.
This makes an ideal image for describing how important Jesus is to us. When he says, 'I am the Bread of Life', we understand the life and death nature of the relationship; it implies that Jesus brings us life, and without him we die. That is why it is linked with the Resurrection – the risen nature of Christ. All we do is believe in Jesus and we will be taken with him through death into the fullness of life with God for ever. Believing is attaching ourselves to him so that wherever Jesus goes we end up being taken as well.
What saddened Jesus in our Gospel reading was that people were clinging to his every move, but for the wrong reasons. They were there for what they got out of it – in their case, being fed with bread and fish. We can sometimes get into the same 'craving rather than believing' mode if we are locked into receiving the spiritual or sacramental giftsfor ourselves because they make us feel good. Jesus isn't a restaurant where we indulge ourselves and eventually roll out and home to bed; he is the Bread of Life, and supplies us with the food we need in order to live out his risen life among the people we are led to.
In Ephesians we are given an inspiring picture of such life worked out in practical tems, enabled through our spiritual feeding to be built up in a coordinated body, displaying the characteristics of God's loving and humility.
Some things to do as you to reflect:-Think about how many physical meals you have and consider whether you spend as much time and effort on your spiritual food
God bless and stay safe and well.
Rev'd Fiona Robinson