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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Friday, August 03, 2012

Friday Focus: The Jesus Diet

So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?" Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal." Then they said to him, "What must we do to perform the works of God?" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." So they said to him, "What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" Then Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

There are basically two kinds of diets: the ones that work and the ones that don’t. Diets that don’t work are often called fad diets. They promise fast results with little effort. A plague of them show up every spring promising to make you a slim sensation by summer. Results, if any, are almost always temporary and pretty soon you’re right back where you started from.
Diets that work promise gradual results with considerable commitment over a lifetime. Their premise is not to lose anything, but to gain good nutrition based on an acceptance of healthy choices. Their objective is not to transform chubby couch potatoes into skinny coach potatoes. The objective is to transform unhealthy bodies into healthy ones. And to get there, you’ve got to put all that good nutrition to work if you want to keep it. That means having the discipline to faithfully follow up with an appropriately rigorous program of exercise.
You could say that in this week’s gospel, Christ is promoting “The Jesus Diet.” It’s all about healthy choices. It’s a lifetime commitment that guarantees results. And it comes with a personal trainer. Jesus is with us every step of the way. Feeding us; leading us; getting us in shape for eternity.
In this week’s gospel, it’s the day after the multiplying of the loaves and fishes. And the crowd doesn’t want the party to end. After some probing, they put in their order: Give us a sign to believe in you. How about a regular diet of manna raining from heaven? Jesus seizes on their opening to explain who he is and why he’s here: I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry.
From that day to this, Jesus is the real breakfast of champions. We are not meant to just listen to the word of God, we are meant to consume it. We are meant to live it. We are not just to call ourselves Christians, we are meant to become Christians; nourished and strengthened body and soul, fully committed, fully absorbed in the love of Christ.
God did not send us Jesus, The Bread of Life, to work wonders, to preach and to teach, to die for our sins, all so that we could become a race of spiritual coach-potatoes. Our nourishment has a purpose. We are here to do God’s work in the world. We are here to share the Bread of Life with a world that is stuffed with sin and starving for love. It’s a tall order. But we have a personal trainer to show us the way. Stay close to Jesus. He’ll help you make healthy choices. Keep pace with him in prayer and in scripture. Work out with the home team in our ministries of worship, outreach and fellowship. Get on the Jesus Diet. It’s not about losing; it’s all about winning.

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