Why Do We Gather?

We gather to be replenished and reminded to keep asking God for our daily bread, to keep seeking Jesus, and being fed by Jesus, so that we can share that bread with the world. 

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Read 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, John 6:30-35

We’re talking a lot about bread today, but I will refrain from telling puns because you all deserve butter. It’s the yeast I can do.  Sorry, it’s ingrained in me.

Later on in the service we’ll be praying the Lord’s Prayer together, and say, “Give us this day our daily bread.” What do you think of when we pray that?

The people talking to Jesus in the passage we read from John 6 are asking for this daily bread.  Jesus has just miraculously fed 5000 people with a few loaves of bread and a few fish, and so these people came back the next day asking for more. 

The people say, “Moses fed Israel every day with manna,” referring to the stories in Exodus and Numbers about the nation of Israel wandering in the desert for 40 years.  What these people are basically saying is, “If you’re as good as Moses was, you’ll feed us every day too.”

Jesus points out their error.  Moses didn’t feed them.  God fed them.

Then he takes things a step further.  “The true bread from God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

Jesus brings life to the world.  Jesus is the bread of life. 

Jesus is our daily bread.  Jesus is food for our souls.

I needed this food for my soul desperately the summer I worked as a chaplain at a hospital.  Every day I was in hospital rooms, emergency rooms, and waiting rooms with people who were in crisis and in pain – physical, emotional and spiritual pain.  My natural response to those situations was to run away.  I didn’t know these people and I didn’t know how to help them.  But I also knew I had to be there to listen and pray.

What they needed was Jesus, whether they knew it or not, because Jesus is our hope, our forgiveness, our new life in the midst of death, our resurrection.  Jesus was my hope, and I needed Jesus in those moments to be holding my hand, encouraging me to stay there and not run away, helping to encourage them to keep hoping.

This past year has been a tough year for hospital chaplains, just like it has been for doctors and nurses. I have loved hearing the stories about doctors and nurses giving spiritual care to patients when they were the only ones who could be there with them because I know that’s something they were doing long before COVID and will keep doing long afterwards.

When I was working in the hospital, I visited a women recovering from surgery and I apologized for not getting there in time to pray with her before surgery.  She was excited to tell me that it didn’t matter because the doctor had prayed with her before the surgery.

Any one of us can be the one to offer someone spiritual care, the bread of heaven, the love of Jesus in those moments.

  • We gather to be replenished and reminded to keep asking God for our daily bread, to keep seeking Jesus, and being fed by Jesus, so that we can share that bread with the world. 
  • We gather to renew our hope in Jesus Christ so that we can overflow with hope into the lives of the people around us.

Thanks be to God.

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