“I am the bread of life”…
Us humans tend to recoil when someone blows their own trumpet….in Australia, you’re likely to be cut down to size very quickly. The “I am” sayings of Jesus can be seen to be problematic because they are statements that directly point and establish his divine and intimate relationship with God. The truth is, Jesus is the only human representation of God in history and amongst all religions, so for the peoples of his time, the mixed reactions of desire to believe and the cynical, even angry response is understandable and once again prevalent in this Gospel account from John.
However this account stands out as significant above all others because it invites the reader, us, to understand the importance of Jesus as the one on who we feed….learn, are nurtured, sustained on our earthly journey, pointed to the gratuitous love of God in the divine, human experience of Jesus, the ‘Messiah’ amongst us. Secondly, Jesus makes it clear that our attraction is not to the man, the human personality of Jesus, but to the God of grace who nourishes and sustains us as we respond in faith to the son who opens our eyes to God’s ever present love and grace.
There is an odd line in the psalms which reads, “God does not delight in any mans legs”, and, “put not your trust in princes”. I find the first amusing because a Bishop used to quote this at the beginning of an Australian summer to his clergy because he had a disdain for clergy wearing shorts! Still makes me smile. More importantly, Jesus makes it clear where our focus should be.
Our clergy should never be put on a pedestal or be the reason for one person engaging or disengaging their faith practise. Our focus is and must be on the God who bought our salvation on the cross through the humility of service given by his son, an exemplary act that is often both misunderstood and resented by those who don’t take up their own cross and deny themselves and follow in the footsteps that ultimately lead us back to God. Pride, and all that comes with that.
That soon we will be fed and nourished again by the physical Eucharistic meal in which we reach out to be fed and offer our dependence corporately on the loving mercy of God will be a refreshing new beginning for us at the end of this long and anxious pandemic and journey in which communion and fellowship has been denied to us. The sacrifice for the greater good has tested us all, and mostly we have survived, for many of us, by faith.
Jesus is “the bread of life” and points to an ever present, ever loving God, who has been with us from the very beginning and continues with us into what lies ahead.
Come, and be fed, renew yourselves in the feast which he has prepared for us.
With love and blessings.