Bread for the Journey
1. Ordination Sunday last week. Candidating in 1990. Living the ministry of word and sacrament as a life of prayer - How? - floundered - wished I had been honest - I don't know. We are called to a journey, not a job description.
Psalm 84 - The road to Zion runs through the landscape of the heart as well as the landscape of the world.
Isaiah 49 - God's promise: There is always a way through.
Mark 6 - Jesus is there, with us, in the barren place. And sees our need.
Future always works out differently to what we expect - do not know what lies ahead of us. John Wesley deathbed - life reviewed - astonishment at what had happened. "The best of all is: God is with us."
This we know. We are called to a journey, not a job description. And God shares the journey with us.
2. First communion service at which I presided was in September 1994 - only just out of college, not yet ordained, dispensation to preside. All those hands - hungry, empty, waiting. My responsibility to put something in them. Something I had received. Something I had accepted in Christ's name, had to pass on in Christ's name. Love, acceptance, wisdom, feeding. Testimony of older people - Sunday worship keeps me going during the week. Bread for the journey.
Psalm 84 - the barren land becomes a place of springs.
Isaiah 49 - God will provide for his people. They will not hunger or thirst.
Mark 6 - You give them something to eat. What???
In many situations, we know we have to give to people. Put something into their empty hands. Our children, friends, neighbours, people we care for. Wisdom, love, prayer. So hard to keep giving. We can only give what we ourselves have received. Remember that our giving is only possible if we make time, space to receive - time and space in our hearts, in our lives, in our minds. Receive that you may give. Be honest about your need. God knows it, but likes to be asked. Can deal most directly with those needs which are openly acknowledged - out on the table.
3. 1995 my own ordination. Strange experience. old poem. (based on Philip Larkin) Durham cathedral.
We are seen by an awareness which we can barely imagine,
held by a power that we cannot comprehend,
loved by a love which is far, far greater, more wonderful, more mysterious than we can experience or know.
We are like children peeping through a door that is only open a tiny crack, looking through into a vast and fabulous hall. Hall is filled with a presence, awesome, majestic, dazzling - yet also wise and caring - knows we are peeping, and why, and shows us things small enough for us to understand through the door, yet so amazing that we want to know more. Makes himself small enough to slip through the crack onto our side, but we never quite forget where he has come from.
Psalm 84 - We go from strength to strength in praise.
Isaiah 49 - God's promise: God will strengthen, guide and protect his people
Mark 6 - everyone has enough, more left over.
BREAD FOR THE JOURNEY
Make a list of the current items on your personal "agenda", which may include things to do, situations that are causing you anxiety, people for whom you are concerned, hopes, fears etc.
Music: a setting of Psalm 131
O God of infinite compassion, through the life of Jesus, your Son,
you have shown us that in the heart of your love,
there is a space reserved for us alone:
We praise you.
Into your humility, we offer our pride;
into your holiness, all that falls short of your steadfast love.
Into your smallness, we offer our ambitions;
and into your ordinariness, our yearning for that spectacular miracle
which would turn our lives around.
Into your calm, we offer all our stress,
into your quiet, our noise.
And in making our surrender, we are content to wait,
to be seen, known, received, welcomed;
to be heard, understood and loved;
to discover that we are endlessly beloved,
and that, because you love us, we have hope
for this moment, for tomorrow, forever.
Reading: Isaiah 49.8-13
Music: a song derived from Psalm 62
Gospel: Mark 6.30-44
Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life”
Living according to our dreams is not straightforward. Hardest part is beginning. Deciding that we can do it. Should do it. Want to do it.
Jesus will help us. Jesus knew that we cannot live by physical bread alone. Need a richer, fuller life. That is what we were designed for – can only be happy if we have it. God’s desire for each of us. How to find it? Jesus will show the way.
Jesus told us he is the bread of life, without which we cannot live. Jesus is the bread, and the way to find the bread. Our example, pattern, guide, teacher.
He is our brother, friend, lover – stay faithful to us, as we follow the way.
More, he is our food. Eating his flesh and drinking his blood. Source of our energy. The energy to see, to understand, to reflect, to want, to work. Faith to see. Faith to work at it. Faith to complete the task, to see it through the difficult times. The times when it costs us everything.
Jesus has given everything to make this possible for us. He will continue to give, with all the limitless resources of God, to bring it all to completion.
Knowing what our dreams are – then taking small steps to work towards them.
Piece of coloured paper – your secret dream. Treasure. Something just for yourself. Don’t edit yourself. (Money, time, energy) What would be my treasure? For where your treasure is, there will your heart be, also.
The Spirit fills us, satisfying us as if we were full of bread.
Satisfaction. Fulfilment. Abundance. Inspiration. Joy. Not just in the mind – satisfying to complete a puzzle. Satisfying to be taken into an alternative world. Satisfying to remember good times. Satisfying to imagine good future. Not just in the heart – relationships. Not just in our work. Not just in our hobbies or leisure interests. Not just about joy – worship – song. But everything, all at once, for ever.
The Holy Spirit hears the deepest cries of our hearts and makes the connection with God. The Holy Spirit is there to make the connections. To help us towards our dreams. What do I need to take a step towards my dream? Courage. A friend. Help from outside.
Promise – when we meet again in May – we will take this further. Your dreams are important. To you. Selfish? No. To others – help them towards their dreams. To God – Kingdom of people who are willing to dream dreams. (Joel)