Weekly Reflections 7-22-2015

Texts for Sunday July 26: 2 Kings 4:42-44; Psalm 145:10-18; 
Ephesians 3:14-21; John 6:1-21

 The eyes of all wait upon you, and you give them their food in due season.
Psalm 145:15

In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus feeds 5000 people with just 5 loaves and 2 fish.*

Last Sunday, Gloria Dei youth were a part of the ELCA’s Youth Gathering’s final worship service in Detroit and helped serve communion to 30,000. That is a lot of bread!  Of course, all the bread for our service was ready to go early on Sunday morning so each of the 200+ stations had the bread long before worship started. No multiplying of loaves, but a lot of organization! (photo from the ELCA)

It may seem that I’m talking about something different than the scripture text. But I don’t think so.  Both stories point to Jesus as the source of life, as the sustainer of life. Both point to Jesus’ presence at that moment. The gift of food in the John story comes from Jesus himself as “host” to this giant picnic; the gift of holy communion comes from the Word connected to the bread and wine: “this is my body; this is my blood” which assure us that Jesus is truly present in some unexplainable way.

This Sunday starts a 5 week stretch of readings taken from chapter 6 of the Gospel of John. And in those readings, Jesus calls himself the bread of life or living bread. Stay tuned for bread, bread and more bread!

This section of the story ends with Jesus walking on water out to the disciples in a boat. Again, this story introduces the coming discourse on bread when Jesus declares “I AM”, identifying with God’s name – ok, the NRSV says “It is I” but the little footnote says the Greek says “I am”, as in “I am the bread of life”.

Check out GIFT for more ways to reflect on these texts.

* Note: This story of the feeding of the crowd is the only miracle story that is told in all 4 Gospels. It must have been a popular part of the oral history about Jesus that circulated among early Christians.  

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Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245