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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 10, 2012

Friday Focus: One More Time

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.  Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven."  They were saying, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?" Jesus answered them, "Do not complain among yourselves.  No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day.  It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father.  Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life.  I am the bread of life.  Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.  This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." 
John 6:35, 41-45

This gospel reminds us of one good thing we can never get enough of. In case you missed it the first time, Jesus lays it out once again: I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever. We’ve grown up with this essential tenet of Christianity. It’s a Bible study basic. It’s been grist for countless sermons. We know the words.  But even now, do we really get it? Not just a nodding acceptance, but do we actively embrace the real-world implications of a life in and for Christ, centered on him, nourished by him?
Or is life in Christ something we’re going to get around to when we have the time? After all we have so many obligations: mouths to feed, mortgages to pay, credit cards, car payments, tuition, and on and on. And that’s just the cash side of the leger. Demands on our time and emotions can be even higher. So what to do? Do we put Jesus in the cue with all our other obligations? Or do we drop him in the pit of good intentions that we’re going to get to, someday?
First of all, let’s get our heads on straight. If we see living in Christ as another obligation, as just one more thing to do, we need some very serious attitude adjustment. Living in Christ is not another thing to do. It is the thing to do. It is the only reason we are here. And it is all that God expects from us…not results, not contributions, not a quid pro quo deal of doing good things to get good things.
But here’s the best part. Life in Christ is not a dry, sacrificial fast. It is the feast of heaven and earth. It is the table of plenty. It transforms the routines and chores of the day into prayer. It takes the dregs of the day and makes them a glorious gift to give back to our loving God.
Where do we find the focus to see through the constant distractions and the downright disasters that visit every life? Our God, in the form of Jesus Christ, gives himself to us today and every day, to nourish our souls, to give our lives purpose and direction. And that direction is one of hope and joy, knowing that we are on our way home to our loving Father, confident that Christ is with us every step of the way.
In this week’s gospel, Christ’s invites us to consume his love, to make it the bone and fiber of our being, to keep coming back for seconds, to purge the toxins of sin and fill ourselves with joy. From the loaves and fishes through this ongoing discourse on the Bread of Life, the sixth chapter of John has a common theme: Trust in God. He loves you and will provide for you. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.   Get that straight and everything else will fall into place.

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