Weekly Reflections 7-29-2015

Texts for Sunday August 2: Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15; Psalm 78:23-29; Ephesians 4:1-16; John 6:24-35

Manna! Do you know what that is? Grace! (Read more about grace)

God heard the whining, grumbling, complaining Israelites in the desert and sent manna. Believe me, if you have read the story of these people in Exodus wandering through the desert, you would agree that manna is a gift that they TOTALLY did not deserve or earn. 

Long ago (1983) Saturday Night Live had recurring characters called The Whiners (for a 30 second taste of the skits, go to You Tube and search on “diverticulitis”). Imagine a whole crowd whining like that day after day.  Before the Israelites even crossed the Dead Sea they were complaining.  If you continue in Chapter 16, you’ll see them ignore what Moses tells them – first they hoard it, then they don’t follow the rules for the Sabbath. And to top all that off, Chapter 17 starts with whining about being thirsty. Just “smite ‘em” occasionally crosses my mind.

But grace crosses God’s mind. And manna sustains them for 40 years. And carries the promise of a land that will give food.

This Sunday’s Gospel text from John continues last week’s story. In last week’s Gospel, Jesus fed 5000+ people. So do they bask in the glorious gift? Do they even say “thanks”?  Nope. After he leaves, they hunt him down like a troop of paparazzi hoping for more food - time to smite?

Again grace is God’s response. Jesus starts a dialogue with the crowd that will move to one of his teaching discourses (common in John) on who Jesus is and what his becoming human (incarnation is the fancy word for that) means about God.

 “…it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” 35Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty…”

To quote my Oxford Annotated Bible (NRSV, 1989) in its note on v.35:  “Jesus is himself God’s gift of sustenance for time and eternity”. 

Instead of manna for a day at a time, God gives God’s self for time without end. That is grace. Next week we hear more about this, but for now (and eternity), I rest in God’s grace.

Check out the G.I.F.T. post for this Sunday, August 2, for more ways to reflect on these verses.

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245