Friday, July 30 2021
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” (John 6:35).
Do you remember going to church when you were young? What I remember is the mystery and transcendence of God back in the sixties. It was a different age in the life of the church. Churches regularly filled the pews and needed to set up extra chairs in the isles to accommodate the crowd at holiday services. I love to hear the stories of when St. John’s was packed on holidays, stories of youth group trips, Sunday school, Harvest Fairs, St. Hilda’s guild projects, and other fond memories that so many of our parishioners have. If there is one constant that I always hear at St. John’s, it is the family atmosphere, welcome, and friendships that people experience when they come here.
But in 2021, in the madness of this pandemic, we tend to lose focus on why coming to church on Sunday (or watching on zoom) is important. Many people see church as an option when it is convenient. God offers something far more precious than most people can ask or even imagine. Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” This means that everything eternal will be just fine. Although our times may be difficult, Jesus has taken care of our worst fear. This used to be known by a majority of people, but a majority of folks now face uncertainty. Without faith in the resurrection, we are forced to live in anxiety and fear.
When I was young, I remember the words of the Eucharistic prayer and the sound of the clergy’s voice is forever etched in my memory, “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you.” I then witnessed the transcendence of the bread at the table turned into the body of Christ. We were offered the real and tangible Body of Christ, who died on a cross for the forgiveness of our sins. At the end of the service, after singing hymns like Onward Christian soldiers; we strode out of the church with Christ like purpose to bring the kingdom of God closer and to make God real to a hurting world. TH Episcopal Church was at the forefront of civil unrest because the life of Jesus Christ stood in opposition to the practice of racial bias and we choose to follow his path and not the path of the “real world.” Martin Luther King Jr. and others preached a Gospel that changed the way we behaved as a country and brought Good News and hope to those who were oppressed. We were a church that heard the Gospel and demanded justice in the world. I remember leaving the church building with the purpose of God, through the self-giving love of Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. I think of my memories of my childhood as the passing of an age. But I believe with all my heart that St. John’s is doing the work of Christ. We preach the saving grace of Jesus Christ through our faith and through our actions. Please join us.
In Christ’s love,