After the thrill of the Jubilee celebrations and the Olympic Game life is returning to normal, or at least it will once the Paralympics are over. Holidays have been and gone, or shortly will have, children are back at school, and we settle back into the usual routine. In the church's calendar we are in 'ordinary time' - there are no major festivals until we reach the run-up to Christmas.
The bread of life
Jesus said: ‘I am the bread of life.' That has been the theme of the Gospel readings throughout August because those who decide what is to be read at our services split a long discourse into four bite-sized chunks.
What did Jesus mean exactly? Some see a hint of the communion service at which we share bread and wine and recall Jesus' saving death and resurrection. That is a reasonable inference. But stressing the connection between Jesus' saying and the communion service locks his teaching up in the special, in the liturgical, in the church, whereas I think Jesus intended it to be for every moment of every day.
Why? Because bread is a staple food, something Jesus' hearers would have eaten every day ... an essential part of their diet. Bread was not only for the special occasions but for every occasion. Bread, a key requirement for physical health, but now Jesus says: ‘I am the bread of life.'
Food for our spiritual life
Jesus the ' bread of life'.. .the living bread.. .the staple diet of our spiritual lives - we need to rely on him for our spiritual sustenance every day, not just on Sundays or when we attend communion.
We cannot store up reserves of this spiritual bread; it is a gift given daily... for spiritual heath we need to receive it from Jesus new every morning.. .we are to live our ordinary everyday lives with Jesus, aware of the presence of God every moment; as we walk the dog, cut the grass, travel to work, relax in front of the TV.
‘I am the bread of life'.. I am for every day, I am for the ordinary, the routine, I am for the world where bills have to be paid, clothes have to be ironed; the busy world where many things have to be done. Jesus is for the 'ordinary' times of life just as much as for the festivals and longs to transform the ordinary into the exceptional if we will allow him. ‘I have come that you might have life, and might have it abundantly’ he says.
May I wish you all a rich and abundant life in Christ especially amidst 'ordinary time’.