By Revd Steph Clark
‘Thought for the Day’ Thursday 30th April 2020
Reading – John 6:44-51,
“Feeding on the Bread of Life”
44 No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
When making sourdough bread it is the starter that makes the sourdough rise. Along with leavening the bread, the starter also brings that classic sour flavour. The starter is literally full of life! As there are 50 million yeasts and 5 billion bacteria in every teaspoon of starter dough.
It is this yeast and bacteria, that when added to an individual loaf, allows the loaf to come to life. Firstly, you see the dough gently bubbling and as the starter slowly breathes life into the dough, it turns a flat dough into something light and fluffy. For me, it is like the dough is the body and the starter is the soul.
Jesus tells us in our reading that he is the ‘bread of life’ and when we feed on this bread from heaven, we, will have life… so how does Jesus feed us?
We are fed by his word, the word made flesh. As we read scripture, we are called, as the psalmist says, to feed and meditate on the word so it fills our hearts and minds with the truth revealed. Slowly bubbling, bringing to life, and strengthening our faith so we can joyfully share that faith with others.
We are fed through prayer; Prayer is less about the words we use; Jesus has already given us the words to pray. Prayer is an invitation to relinquish our defences, sitting fully in his presence and presenting ourselves in a way that no one else knows, but to a God who already knows. In other words, praying to God just as we are, loved and accepted. We pray, not because God needs it, but because we need it. When we humbly pray, we are reminded of our utter dependence on HIS care, when we pray for others, we are reminded to help them. There are so many of us who are always in need of prayer, but with the current health crisis, praying for each other is both a privilege and a gift.
We are fed through relationships; never has there been a time when relationships need to be nurtured more. So why use the word nurture? As Luke tells us, 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. In verse 41 of this passage we are told the Jews kept murmuring about Jesus, as they were so taken up by their private arguments that it never struck them to refer the decision to God, to wait and to listen in order to abide in him. They were too eager to let everyone know what they thought on the matter and not in the least bit anxious about what God thought. This really is a time when we need to be listening to people’s stories, hear their joy and their hopes -as well as hearing their pain, forgiving each other’s clumsy words, acknowledging their anxieties, giving this value, authenticity and then handing it all to God. We need to give God the space and allow HIM to breath his healing and abiding love into our lives.
Jesus says “I am the bread life” so let us continue to let God be our starter, rising and bubbling up in us and breath