Sermon for Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Wednesday in the Third Week of Easter John 6:35-40
It is not easy to understand John when John is read in the liturgy: John tends to write in long, wordy passages that are difficult to understand in their entirety, much less when they are divided into the bite-sized chunks favored by the lectionary.
Which is exactly the case for today’s reading from John chapter 6. Today’s reading from John 6, from the so-called “Bread of Life Discourse,” is long and wordy and, when a few verses are excerpted from the whole to be read in the liturgy, those few verses are difficult to understand. Continue reading →
Listen to my words. You are going to hear something that must be said. You slake your soul’s thirst with drafts of the divine fountain. I now wish to speak of this. Revive yourself, but do not quench your thirst. Drink, I say, but do not entirely quench your thirst, for the fountain of life, the fountain of love calls us to him and says: ‘Whoever thirsts, let them come to me and drink.’
Understand well what you drink. Jeremiah the prophet would tell us; the fountain of life would himself tell us: ‘For they have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, says the Lord.’ The Lord himself, our God Jesus Christ, is the fountain of life, and accordingly he invites us to himself as to a fountain, that we may drink. Whoever loves him, drinks him. You drink who are filled with the Word of God. You drink who love him fully and really desire him. You drink who are on fire with the love of wisdom. Continue reading →
John’s Gospel is so very different from the other three. In Matthew, Mark and Luke, for example, Jesus goes up to Jerusalem only once; in John, Jesus visits Jerusalem three times. In Matthew, Mark and Luke they’re called “miracles;” in John, they’re “signs.” In Matthew, Marks and Luke’s Jesus tends to speak in short bursts; In John, Jesus speaks in long discourses.
One of the curious differences in John is John’s placement of language about the Eucharistic. In Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus institutes the Eucharist at the Last Supper. In John, Jesus teaches about the Eucharist during the feeding of the 5,000, from which this morning’s gospel lesson is taken.
Because John’s gospel is so different than the others, John has the potential to teach us a lot, for he comes to the same story or the same teaching but from a different angle. John’s unusual and unique placement of the Eucharist within the feeding of the 5,000 tells us several things about the Eucharist: Continue reading →
Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15
Perhaps it’s an example of clergy cynicism best left behind at those shadowing gatherings of the ordained that, like trips to the dentist, one endures, but never welcomes. Nonetheless, I will take the plunge this morning and share with you a remark that I have heard on several occasions at such events, especially when the sensitive subject of “average Sunday attendance” is raised for report or discussion. And the matter creeps into discussions frequently these days when so many other activities compete for our attention on Sunday mornings—to which Christian’s still refer, without even a hint of irony, as the “Lord’s Day”—in our increasingly secular, competitive, and consumerist culture. The remark is often made when clergy are bemoaning low attendance at Sunday services, and it usually goes something like this: “I wonder just how many people would come to Church on a Sunday morning if we advertised in the local press that each and every communicant would receive a one-hundred dollar bill at the altar rail. I’ll bet that attendance would skyrocket!” To which the more cynical among us—who shall, of course, remain nameless to protect the guilty—have been known to respond: “Why one-hundred dollars when fifty or twenty would likely do just as nicely!” Continue reading →