August 8, 2021

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

  • First reading and Psalm
    • 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33
    • Psalm 130
  • Alternate First reading and Psalm
    • 1 Kings 19:4-8
    • Psalm 34:1-8
  • Second reading
    • Ephesians 4:25-5:2
  • Gospel
    • John 6:35, 41-51

The gospel reading from John:
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’?”

Chinese Orthodox Communion Bread Seal
21st century
Church of the Apostles
Hong Kong

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.”

Pastor Stevensen finds the book of John to be remarkable. Our gospel readings from John this month of August include the word “bread” frequently. Today Jesus says “I am the living bread” and “the bread that I will give for the life of the world flesh.” The word “bread” is about much more.than food. John opens with “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” God sent His Son as the bread. Bread is a symbol as we take bread at communion. Christian life is a narrow path. On the path is freedom. On one side is compulsion. One TV commercial has a man on a bed with a stomach ache saying “I ate the whole thing.” He had freedom, but in this world are freedom is necessarily limited. Pastor takes this further to conclude with the life of the world being a freedom given by God.

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