Sermon for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost - August 26 2018

Sermon for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost, Year B
August 26, 2018
The Rev. Evelyn Wheeler, Rector

1 Kings 8:1,6,10-11,22-30,41-43; Psalm 84; Ephesians 6:10-20; John 6:56-69

In the Gospel of John, Jesus is confusing.  We are told at the very start, that he is the embodiment of the Word of God, existing from before creation, and we are told that a lot of people had trouble with how he described himself.

That last few weeks, he has said such things as:

I am the bread of life. 

I have come down from heaven.

I will raise up all who believe in the Son of the Father.

I am the bread that came down from heaven.

I am the living bread that came down from heaven.

Whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.

Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.

Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and i will raise them up on the last day.

My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.

The one who eats this bread will live forever.

Good grief, Jesus, no wonder people walked away!  This is too hard to understand, too difficult to hear, too weird to believe….

Then, when the crowds had faded away, and only the disciples were left, Jesus pushed again, even harder.

“What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?  It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless.  The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

Last week I told you Jesus “was saying that we need to take him into our being:  body and soul, heart and mind.”  Or, to remind of his language, “flesh and blood.”

A couple weeks back, I said, “we find we cannot separate the divine and the mundane when it comes to Jesus, and we find that they somehow become one, or “both/and” in him.  When we receive the bread at the altar, we take into ourselves not just the earthly wheat but also the heavenly bread of life, simply because that’s what he said would happen.”

We cannot separate the divine and the mundane, the eternal and the mortal, the sacred and profane, because in Jesus they are one, and because we have accepted the Spirit of God ourselves, we cannot separate them in ourselves, either.

Among other things, that says to me that this earthly existence has value in God’s eyes.  What we do matters.  How we treat each other matters – and they are issues of “matter” – of things, of earth

If they did not matter, God the Son would not have come to us as one of us, God the Son would not have accepted death.  That there is more to life than what we can see and feel and touch and even know, at least in part, is not in question.  But what we do see and feel and touch and know, at least in part, is also valued by God.  In the signs he performed, Jesus points to the greater truth; which we cannot fully see or understand.

But, perhaps, like Peter, we can see, at least in part, that Jesus has the words of eternal life. 

Perhaps, that’s enough for today.


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