Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost
In the Liturgical Churches this day is celebrated as the eleventh Sunday after Pentecost. The gospel from the Common Lectionary is John 6:51-58. This is the third week with Jesus as the Bread of life the central theme and some pastors will decide to preach on one of the other lessons or substitute a gospel of their own choosing. Use of the common Lectionary does not require one always stay with the texts as given. Of course, there are purists who think it does but it doesn’t.
The Common Lectionary serves several purposes
1. It lifts up the primary Christian themes in line with the Liturgical Year. Thus they all get covered.
2. With the three year cycle large portions of scripture are read to the congregation. For many people this is their only experience with scripture.
3. It helps all the congregations to be on the same scriptural page.
4. Its use means the pastor puts aside his own themes and works with that text ( Congregations are spared a lot of really poor sermons)
But the pastor is always free to substitute.
Today the people who came to make Jesus King in order to get physical bread become really disturbed at what Jesus is saying. He talks of eating his flesh and drinking his blood. They begin to think this may not be the Messiah but some kind of crazy man. They can not begin to understand what he is saying. They even argue among themselves about it.
If Jesus was looking to drive them away He couldn’t have done a better job.
When he finishes only the disciples will remain.
These are hard words even today.
Denominations fight over what Jesus meant by them. Is he really, physically present in the Bread and Wine?
But they all agree that Jesus is the way to eternal life.
Christians believe that Jesus opens the way to heaven for us.
As a Lutheran I believe Jesus is really present in the bread and wine of Holy Communion but I have never believed that you had to agree with us to receive Jesus.
He meets people’s spiritual hunger in ways I can’t even comprehend.
But I am thankful that on Sunday I meet Him in the Bread and Wine and will today.