Sunday 8th August – 10th Sunday after Trinity
The service is now live-streamed and can be found on the church Facebook page.
Lord of heaven and earth,
as Jesus taught his disciples to be persistent in prayer,
give us patience and courage never to lose hope,
but always to bring our prayers before you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Kings 19.4-8
Elijah went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.’ Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, ‘Get up and eat.’ He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, ‘Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.’ He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.
John 6.35, 41-51
Jesus said to the crowd, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’ Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’
Jesus answered them, ‘Do not complain among yourselves. 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. 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. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’
Post Communion Prayer
God of our pilgrimage,
you have willed that the gate of mercy
should stand open for those who trust in you:
look upon us with your favour
that we who follow the path of your will
may never wander from the way of life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I wonder if anyone can remember the TV advert that starred Mr Bean, trying to climb, and run along a
tiled roof, as part of a Ninja group. He isn’t able to focus and so ends up crashing through a roof,
crushing someone in the process. It is at this point one of the other Ninjas notices that Mr Bean isn’t
quite himself and throws him a snickers bar. It through eating the snickers bar Mr Bean is transformed
into a Ninja Warrior. And the advert closes with the tagline: you’re not you when you’re hungry, eat
I wonder if any of you have ever become so hungry that you stop, being you?
I know I have, and it happens fairly regularly. The last time it happened would have been on Monday,
when I had walked from Budleigh Salterton to Sidmouth along the South West coast path along the cliff
tops, it was spectacular the walk. But I had forgotten to eat sufficiently before I left Budleigh and by the
time I had walked to Sidmouth, I had almost forgotten who I was.
Okay slight exaggeration, but I was very hungry and in need of some grub. And once I grab something to
eat, I was feeling much better.
The same thing is true of the prophet Elijah, perhaps the greatest prophet of the Old Testament. In our
first reading from Kings, we hear how Elijah wished to no longer to live, because he was feeling the
weight of all that he had done and was fearing his life. As he had proven to the people reigning over
Israel that their gods were rubbish and had killed all their so-called prophets. Safe to say they were
wanting Elijah dead. Therefore, Elijah fled for his safety, taken no provisions with him. After going a
day’s journey, he was starving, lonely, and in need of sleep, when he cried out to God to take his life
However, God did not take his life away, rather twice, yes twice, during the night an angel came and
gave him some food and some water, in order to restore Elijah to his full strength. God had not finished
with him yet, as if we were to read on, we would discover that Elijah hears God’s small still voice in a
cave after a storm, an earthquake and a raging fire have all passed by.
God provided for Elijah, for he knew the plans, he had for him.
I wonder what similarities there are in our Gospel passage this morning.
Our Gospel passage comes towards the end of John chapter 6 and is perhaps the pinnacle of the Feeding
of the 5,000 story which makes up the bulk of Chapter 6. I say this as Jesus has fed 5,000 men, plus
women and children, and he has walked on water to reach his disciples who went on ahead of him as
Jesus dismissed the crowds. Jesus met the physical needs of the men, women and children who had
followed him into the wilderness to hear him speak.
In this part of John’s Gospel account, we hear Jesus explaining what all this means.
Jesus’ message culminates with: “I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,
and whoever believes in me with never be thirsty.”
What a powerful statement, and one that takes a bit of unpacking.
Firstly, what is Jesus claiming?
Jesus is claiming that all those who are hungry and thirsty will be satisfied if they come and believe in
him, i.e. they will not be in want of basic needs.
Secondly, Jesus is offering this to all people regardless of who they are.
What a fantastic thing to be offered, to never be in hunger or in thirst again.
However, this offer of having basic needs met is not to be found in this life but in the life to come. As
later on we hear how Jesus promising that all who eat of him, will be raised with him in the life to come.
The bread that Jesus is offering he compares to the manna that the Israelites ate in the wilderness (see
Exodus for more information), and how it is similar to the purpose of manna. Manna gave physical
strength for each day, needing to be collected daily. Jesus’ bread gives us spiritual strength for each, day
and we ought, ideally need to be meeting with Jesus daily to receive strength for each day.
That is why in the Lord’s prayer we ask for us to be given daily bread!
It is important to our very wellbeing as human creatures to receive this bread of life.
As Christians we have the opportunity today to share in this daily bread. As this is a service of Holy
Communion, where we remember and take part in the last great supper that Jesus had with his friends.
Holy Communion means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, it means different things to
me, and I am sure it means different things to you.
Holy Communion is an opportunity for all of us to gather together in order to receive God’s strength for
the day and week ahead and to support and strengthen each other.
We gather together to receive from God and from each other.
Afterall, we cannot do God’s work alone.
Elijah didn’t and Jesus most certainly did not.
As we gather together as a whole church to receive our daily bread. I wonder if you could pause and
reflect on where you are with God and where we are with God?
I wonder if you are in the Wilderness alone and angry at God and the world?
I wonder if you are coming to God, but are still uncertain of who he is?
I wonder if you are living your best life completely certain that God has got you?
I wonder if you are uncertain of where God is, but know that he is there?
You might be in one or more than one or in none of those places, and that is okay. It is okay to be where
you are with God today, please know that God is with you, he is for you, and he seeks the best for you.
In fact, God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is offering of himself to strengthen you and to provide
for you, all you have to do is to come forward and receive of him. In other words, all you have to do is to
say you are welcome in me today.
Who knows what could happen to us and to our community here today as we freely from receive from
God and welcome him into us today?
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what will happen over the next wee while.