Sunday, August 5, 2018
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (11th Sunday after Pentecost/Proper 13)
The Revised Common Lectionary passages for the Lord’s Day are:
First Reading: 2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a Psalm 51:1-12
Second Reading: Ephesians 4:1-16
Gospel Reading: John 6:24-35
The liturgical color for the day is: Green
The Apostle says in the Second Reading: “I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Preaching on the issue of call is always in good order for reminding the faithful that what they do is done out of that relationship that we have with God and not merely from a human perspective. This week’s texts invite a looking at that call in light of our propensity to be fallible with it.
The story of David continues, and this called servant of the Lord botches it yet-still-again. He makes things go from bad to worse, and seemingly doesn’t understand the severity of his actions. The Lord sends Nathan to David to tell him a story. Nathan, and his story, serve as a mirror for David to see into himself and the immensity of his mis-step with the call of God in his life. The church is Nathan for each of us. We come together in Christian community to help hold the mirror up so that we can each (and corporately too) see into our own selves and the places where we have side-stepped the call of God on our lives.
The Gospel Lesson has the crowd chasing after Jesus. They know of the incredible feast from the loaves and fishes—they want more of Jesus. They knew there was something about Jesus, but they were not able to get to the central matter. Jesus challenged them and even corrected them. It wasn’t Moses with the manna in the wilderness—it was God. God was and God is and God always will be the one who is moving, acting, shaping, reaching out and all the way down. Could they get it? Could they understand that “I am the bread of life…” that they heard?
But more to the point, do we get it? Do we understand? In John’s Gospel there is always this larger reality at play where there is much more than the surface meaning—there is this spiritual dimension to everything that reaches down and enfolds us into this God who is love. Such love calls us to deeply hear, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
The Jesus of these words invites us to believe in him (remember John’s Gospel emphasizes belief, while Matthew, Mark, and Luke emphasize faith). He is the table set with bread that never gives out. He is the cup filled with thirst quenching taste that never stops. He is the what and the who of our living “the life worthy of the calling to which we have been called.”