Midweek Musings for Sunday, August 23, 2015
This week’s reflection comes from Patsy Glista, Associate in Ministry
Assistant to the Bishop for Operations
Prayer of the Day
Blessed Lord God, you have caused the Holy Scriptures to be written for the nourishment of your people. Grant that we may hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that, comforted by your promises, we may embrace and forever hold fast to the hope of eternal life, which you have given us in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen (ELW)
Gospel: John 6:56-69 (NRSV)
56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and are died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.
59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. 60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” 61 But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first, who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 65 And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.
66 Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67 So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
“Do you also wish to go away?” Jesus doesn’t mince words when he asks his twelve disciples what they plan to do upon hearing his teaching in the synagogue. Peter’s testimony in response speaks of what they have come to know and believe as they have journeyed with Jesus. Jesus has the words of eternal life. They believe and know He is the Holy One of God. Peter is bold to speak his faith. We know that later on after Jesus is arrested Peter is not so bold, even going so far as to say he doesn’t even know Jesus. Yet at this moment, Peter believes and is not afraid to stand up and say, ‘I believe.’ He is willing to share his faith story with those who will listen.
In the Old Testament lesson for this Sunday, we read Joshua’s testimony to serve the Lord, “Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Like Peter, Joshua has come to know who God is and knows who he will serve and speaks of his faith forthrightly. His words can challenge us to reflect on what is in our hearts and who it is that we will serve and follow.
Today’s world pulls us in many directions, asking us to serve in lots of places in addition to the many opportunities to serve in our congregations. Jobs, sports, social media, video games, television and hundreds of other things draw our attention and time away from time spent with our Lord. The media lifts up the injustice and evils of the world every day. God calls us to serve, to care for our neighbor, to act and to follow Jesus. Like Jesus words to his disciples, the work God sets before us is sometimes hard to accept. Can we say with Joshua, ‘we will serve the Lord?’ Can we stand with Peter and testify, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God?’ Are we ready to share this faith story with the world around us?