Reflection – 02 January 2022

Here is Martin’s reflection for today.

Wherever you are in the world you can join in with the worship using this link to Zoom – https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84890359132 – worship starts at 11.00 GMT.

Mark

London Road Congregational Church Reflection 2/1/22

Who is Jesus….To You?

Call to Worship:

Here, in this place,

God welcomes all the dreamers, as well as the doubters:
here, the worriers and wanderers can call on God by name.
Here, in this time, we can remember all the ways God has graced us:
here, in these moments, we are reminded that God is with us, always!
Here are gathered those daring enough to step out of comfort into the unknown:
here, in this faith space, we will find the courage to cry out, ‘God, save us!’

in every situation.

Prayer

Abba, Father, Mother, Creator–we call You by many names, but the names we choose show our relationship with You. We desire to draw closer to You, O God. We desire to hear Your voice above the chatter of the world, to know Your ways and to walk in them.

Spirit of Life, wind and breath among us, we feel You move through us, guiding us on our journey, inspiring us to share Your love with others.

Jesus, the Christ, the Saviour of us all, our Brother and Friend, we desire to walk in Your ways and to love one another as You have first loved us.

Triune God, we desire to relate to You and to each other more fully, so that we might draw into the depths of Your love, first glimpsed at creation, when Your voice called us and the earth forth out of darkness into Your light. Continue to call us, guide us and lead us into this world and beyond. Amen.

Hymn: Way Maker

You are here, moving in our midst
I worship You
I worship You
You are here, working in this place
I worship You
I worship You
You are here, moving in our midst
I worship You
I worship You
You are here, working in this place
I worship You
I worship You

You are

Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper
Light in the darkness
My God, that is who You are
You are
Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper
Light in the darkness
My God, that is who You are

Reading and Reflection:

Over the next few weeks, Mark and I will be reflecting on Jesus’ ‘I am’ statements in the Gospel of John. These are:

  • I am the Bread of Life (John 6:35)
  • I am the Light of the World (John 8:12)
  • I am the Door (John 10:9)
  • I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14)
  • I am the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25)
  • I am the Way and the Truth and the Life (John 14:6)
  • I am the Vine (John 15:1,5)

Today we are starting with the first one, Jesus stating that he is the Bread of Life.

John 6:1-9

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

After this, Jesus went across Lake Galilee (or, Lake Tiberias, as it is also called). A large crowd followed him, because they had seen his miracles of healing the sick. Jesus went up a hill and sat down with his disciples. The time for the Passover Festival was near. Jesus looked around and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, so he asked Philip, “Where can we buy enough food to feed all these people?” (He said this to test Philip; actually he already knew what he would do.)

Philip answered, “For everyone to have even a little, it would take more than two hundred silver coins[a] to buy enough bread.”

Another one of his disciples, Andrew, who was Simon Peter’s brother, said, “There is a boy here who has five loaves of barley bread and two fish. But they will certainly not be enough for all these people.”

This reading comes after miracles in Ch. 2 at Cana, the discussion with Nicodemus where he explains himself to be the Son of God, meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well where he explains that he is the expected Messiah and healing miracles performed in Ch. 5.  It was a time when there is a large crowd following him to see what signs he will do next.  He has a certain celebrity status and people are curious about what he will do next.

Against this there are a lot of questions being asked and Jesus is trying to challenge his disciples about what they want from him and what they see in him. It is clear from this passage that Philip and the others had not grasped who Jesus was. Having seen the previous miracles Philip did not turn to Jesus, for an answer, about how the people could be fed. Nor did Philip realise that to be truly nourished earthly bread would not be sufficient. They are and were satisfied, but they didn’t receive from Jesus and be filled.

John 6:22-30

The People Seek Jesus

22 Next day the crowd which had stayed on the other side of the lake realized that there had been only one boat there. They knew that Jesus had not gone in it with his disciples, but that they had left without him. 23 Other boats, which were from Tiberias, came to shore near the place where the crowd had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 When the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they got into those boats and went to Capernaum, looking for him.

Jesus the Bread of Life

25 When the people found Jesus on the other side of the lake, they said to him, “Teacher, when did you get here?”

26 Jesus answered, “I am telling you the truth: you are looking for me because you ate the bread and had all you wanted, not because you understood my miracles. 27 Do not work for food that spoils; instead, work for the food that lasts for eternal life. This is the food which the Son of Man will give you, because God, the Father, has put his mark of approval on him.”

28 So they asked him, “What can we do in order to do what God wants us to do?”

29 Jesus answered, “What God wants you to do is to believe in the one he sent.”

30 They replied, “What miracle will you perform so that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, just as the scripture says, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

This is a real question for us, why do we follow Jesus? Because he does things for us and satisfies the needs we have. Even when challenged about this the people only go so far as to ask for things that makes them wonder why he is different. There is no real desire to seek Jesus for who he is. Moses showed himself to be different and through Moses God was able to work.

John 6:35, 47-51

35 “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “Those who come to me will never be hungry; those who believe in me will never be thirsty. 

47 I am telling you the truth: he who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate manna in the desert, but they died. 50 But the bread that comes down from heaven is of such a kind that whoever eats it will not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If you eat this bread, you will live forever. The bread that I will give you is my flesh, which I give so that the world may live.”

The following verses show that the people listening haven’t understood. v.60 and 66 show that for some it was too much and many stopped following him. The twelve remained. Through Moses God was able to provide bread/sustenance that would preserve the body. What God was doing through Jesus was to provide the means of sustaining eternal life and not just earthly. His flesh, his physical life which he was willing to lay down, would be the means by which they could have eternal life and not just physical life. v. 63 clears this point up, showing that it is the work of the spirit in our hearts, grace given to us by God, that gives life.

The challenge, as always, is to question ourselves on our relationship with God and is God calling us to a deeper level – God’s timing is essential. Being saved is not the destination, it is the doorway to a relationship with God. Which should grow and deepen. Have we fallen into a routine where our prayer life and relationship is just one of wants, asking God to perform miracles and signs to support our faith or just to maintain our life? Do we need to spend time in God’s word and move from knowing of whom the Bible speaks but not the person it speaks of? Do we need to remind ourselves that life is not just about earthly things and where is the balance between our lives in the world/flesh and our eternal life and relationship with God.

Communion:

Reading:1 Corinthians 12:13-14, 26-27

In the same way, all of us, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free, have been baptized into the one body by the same Spirit, and we have all been given the one Spirit to drink.

14 For the body itself is not made up of only one part, but of many parts

26 If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised, all the other parts share its happiness.

27 All of you are Christ’s body, and each one is a part of it. 

If we take the bread and eat together, remembering that we are one body.

If you can now have the wine in front of you.

Let us take the cup…

This is the new covenant in the blood of Jesus, take and drink remembering what Jesus has done for you and for all those who repent and call on his name for forgiveness.

Intercessions

Let us say together the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

Hymn and offertory: Here I am to worship

Light of the world
You stepped down into darkness
Opened my eyes, let me see
Beauty that made this heart adore You
Hope of a life spent with You

Here I am to worship
Here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that You’re my God

Blessing.

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