Bread of Life
In the parishes, the lectionary has delivered five weeks of gospel readings from John: 6- often-named Bread of Life Discourses. The ideas, motifs and messages are repeated each week, emphasizing both the difficulty and importance of this teaching.
John’s gospel always conveys meaning using rich poetic, evocative and often challenging language. The Bread of Life Discourses are unique to John. John’s gospel does not have the Institution of the Last Supper, the shared meal the night before Jesus was betrayed, and yet our understanding of the Eucharist is profoundly influenced by John’s gospel. At the heart of this is that John’s gospel strives from its very first words to reveal Jesus’ divine nature and is constantly challenging us to comprehend the incarnation- Gods presence to us all.
The word became flesh and dwelt among us
Chapter 6 begins with the miracle of The Feeding of the Five Thousand, includes Jesus Walking on Water (not read in this cycle) and concludes with references to Jesus being the Bread of Heaven, Eternal Life and the eating of Jesus’ flesh and blood. These images are provocative, graphic, outrageous, off putting and repulsive and were hard for the ancient mind to comprehend, just as they are for the modern mind’s sensibilities. Especially the more so when you consider that the vernacular translation of the Greek language construction ‘to eat’, would be more accurately conveyed by the words gnaw, chomp and chew.
So, chapter six begins with crowds of people gathering to be part of the miracle and ends with most disciples saying that what Jesus is teaching is too hard, and they leave and return to where they came from. Even though people are abandoning him, Jesus does not retreat from using this sort of language.
Our modern life encourages us to live in a demystified world. Our culture tells us we are in control of our lives and our own destiny. We are seduced into believing in the distorted prosperity gospel- if we work hard we will be rewarded with material gain and this will make us happy. Yet those who live in a world where all their needs, and pretty well all their wants, are generously met, paradoxically live with the fact that general indicators of wellbeing and mental health are plummeting.
So, Christians live with tension that images associated with flesh and blood are considered by ancient and postmodern critics alike, as taboo, cannibalistic, violent and murderous. Yet Christians come to know that to ‘feast’ on Jesus is to ‘feast’ on the very life of God. The mystery of faith is a gift from God that must be humbly nurtured. In the moment that we choose to grasp the mystery of the Eucharist sacrament, we truly abide in Jesus and he in us. We choose life. We turn over to God our fears and insecurities. We free ourselves from judgment and the burden of sin. We become the Body of Christ with and for one another. We become what we have received- a sacrament of peace, unity and reconciliation. We are not only reminded, challenged or inspired to be these things in the world, we are transformed. This is how we should be, truly and authentically present to creation and humanity.
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
Term 3 Confirmation
Pulteney’s Confirmation Service will take place at 8.45 am on Tuesday, 11 September (Term 3, Week 8), in the Robert Henshall Sports Gym. Confirmation is considered very special, so a bishop will join us and confirm your child. If you and your child would like Confirmation and be involved in preparation that seeks to confirm the promises made at baptism, please contact with the chaplain.
Winter is well and truly with us, Spring is around the corner. Providing gifts of food and op shop items for the Magdalene Centre is an everyday way of doing Christ’s work here on earth. Blankets, warm coats, carves and gloves are especially appreciated. Donations can be brought to the Chapel Foyer. Baskets have been labelled so that we can sort and care for your donations.