Sermon notes for the twelfth Sunday after Trinity
‘I have food to eat of which you do not know’
Do you know this food?
Food is something with which we have become obsessed – we talk about it more than ever before and eat worse than ever before.
Recently I’ve been reading a fascinating book on diet, and why generally they don’t work – because of our micro biomes – that is the trillions of immigrants our body hosts which invade from moments after we are born and take up residence all over us and in our gut especially
The book is full of interesting things, like, did you know that you can take a swab from your armpit, and make cheese form the fungus growing there?
Well I don’t wish anyone to rush out and by yet more antiseptic hand washes etc. (Which seem to do us far far more harm than good . . .) . . . but it’s interesting to note that it is unseen things which have such an impact on us, indeed to a degree controlling what we eat, how we feel, and even perhaps what we think . . .
For what we think is amazingly malleable and open to manipulation of all sorts – so you can take a particular fungus – and culture it, and tell people that the smell is a cheese, and they will respond positively, or tel them that it is sweaty socks and they will not respond so kindly. 🙂 and the truth?? It is both 🙂 the same fungus can make a particular cheese as makes that interesting odour 🙂
(Or perhaps there’s a food snob thing going on here, when we say an expensive cheese smells like sweaty socks . . . )
our sense are fooled by things we don’t see – even our vision
Advert with youth and elderly woman holding a handbag . . . he is running to steal it – we draw back – a large packing case is falling towards her – he is rushing to save her
And of course they didn’t see truthfully the one coming to save them
you’ll remember last week when I spoke of the disciples as Jesus prepared to feed the crowds – of how they could only see the world through the lens of the economics of Pharaoh, or the emperor – only those who carried the denarius, the coins for a day’s labour, which carried the mark of the Emperor, or perhaps, the mark of the Beast? – only those who had this could eat . . . and the disciples could see nothing else
So too the crowds themselves. Jesus tells them they go after him, not because they saw the sign – they only came after him because he filled their stomachs
They say “Is this man not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know’
What are they saying – they only see the man. What is more they only see him in terms of where he has come from, as far as they can see. He has come from Joseph – and we know where Joseph has come from, we know his mother and father . . . interestingly, there is no mention here of Mary, the mother of Jesus . . . but another day
As Jesus says elsewhere – you do not see me, you do not know me, because you do not know my Father. Only the one from God has seen the Father – but those who listen to the Father see who I am
As I have said over the last few weeks – the Scriptures can be thought of as spokes on the wheel of a bicycle – on their own, not seen with respect to the whole, they are unremarkable and can point anywhere. Indeed this is often how we use scriptures – but they form a coherent whole like the spokes of a wheel, when put together and we stand back and we see. they point to Christ Jesus himself. ‘The Scriptures testify about me’ Jesus himself says . . . like the photo of the young man and the elderly woman, it is only when we stand back that we see the saviour
These spokes come to a focus in the gospels, and I would like to suggest, the gospels come to their focus in John. listening to the words of the crowd – “Is this man not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know’ we may well be thinking ‘didn’t we have this reading recently? Yes and no, we listened recently to Mark’s gospel, chapter six, where the people of Nazareth said – he is the carpenters son. His mother and brothers are here – and so seeing purely in human terms they fail to see who he is. So the crowds here in John focus on Jesus known humanity, whilst and do not perceive where he is from – ‘How does he now say, “I have come down from heaven”’ they do not See
The gospels come to a focus here in John, perhaps in these very chapters for Who Jesus is is the key theme of these chapters. Here in Chapter 6 we get everything coming together and it is revealed in the language of the gospel. There are powerful negatives – I am the bread of life – who comes to me will most assuredly will never, will not, will not hunger, they will not, will not thirst – and then – over and over again ‘Truly, Truly I say to you’ Four times within these few verses – Amen, Amen – a Solemn and binding statement. ‘Amen Amen – I say to you, the one who has faith has eternal life. I am the bread of Life”
I wonder if your remember the old J Arthur Rank films – at the beginning someone came out and stuck an enormous Gong – Most assuredly not! Amen, Amen. Boom, Boom Boom – Everything is resonating as we come towards the very truth of lIfe itself – found in Jesus Christ.
Which begs a question – have we found this life in Christ Jesus for ourselves. Here and now – in and amongst us? No one can come to me, Jesus says, unless the father draw him – everyone who listens to the Father and takes instruction from him, comes to me . . . and then Jesus starts to talk of himself as this food . . .
I think that we can know in a sense that we have seen Jesus for who he is – that we have come to know Him, if for example in our reading of the Scriptures we find a deep hunger satisfied – if they lead us into worship of God in Christ. If we can say out of our depths with St Thomas, My Lord and my God.
I recently heard a bishop complain that some of the clergy only read scripture in order to prepare for Sunday – I could hear what he was getting at – if their only focus was to write a sermon – but the riches of Christ are such that if we have come to know an love him, even a single word from his lips feeds us over and over, it is enough.
If we have discovered with Christ Jesus and in him the truth that ‘man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. if we have discovered that deep satiation on reading these Scriptures which attest to Jesus Christ
This is Eternal Life – the Life of God breaking into our life, that our hunger now is for God himself in Christ. Thus we know that we have been drawn by the Father into his life, that we feed on it, in word, and as we shall see next week and the week after, in the Sacrament
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen