Friday, July 31, 2015
It takes time. Healthy relationships take time to cultivate, grow and mature. It takes time, commitment, understanding, patience and trust. We see this in the way Jesus took time with the crowds after the miraculous feeding of the 5,000 in the Gospel of John. The crowd had experienced the unexpected feast which led them to further seek out Jesus.
On the other side of the sea, Jesus engaged them in a dialogue that increased their understanding of his identity and work. The conversation invited them into the journey.
Jesus: Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life…
Crowd: What must we do to perform the works of God?
Jesus: This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.
The event of the feeding led to the dialogue and the dialogue held the promise of Jesus: I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
In the rush of things it’s easy to lose sight of how we are called to be in relationship. In John, the sense of believing goes beyond intellectual assent. It is to participate in the gift of God’s love for us and the world. It is an unfolding and dynamic thing. And so when we read these stories in John about bread we cannot help but think of the sacraments and all that we receive through them.
In the sacraments we are held in God’s mercy as we are fed by the simple gifts of bread and wine – nurtured in the promise of baptism that we are forever accompanied by God. And so we are enlivened in faith and live into the gift of abundant life.
Congregational life is most alive when we share in the rhythm of weekly worship and are fed by a holy meal. We find meaning in the opportunity to be in caring conversations, to ask our searching questions, to ponder and to wonder together – knowing that the Spirit is in all of this.
As God takes time for us so we take time for one another.