Sunday 22nd August 2021

Act of Worship at Home

Reading John 6: 56-69

Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’ He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’ But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, ‘Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, ‘For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.’

Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’


This last year has been hard and there are still challenges to face. It is clear that in every aspect of life  people are giving up things that used to be important to them and this is true for all organisations, including, sadly, the church. But thankfully we profess our faith in Christ, not in the church but, as today’s reading reminds us, the teaching of Jesus is not for the fainthearted.In our reading there were crowds of people, fellow Jews, who had begun to follow Jesus but now left in their droves because his teaching became too hard to stomach. These are the same people who have just been fed with loaves and fishes and had responded by wanting to make Jesus their King. They didn’t anticipate what Jesus had to say next and their eagerness to follow him soon evaporated when they realised their agenda was not what Jesus had in mind. It was an extraordinary turnaround after their initial excitement and decision to be his followers.
By leaving Jesus they weren’t giving up their faith in God, or at least they didn’t think they were. They were simply returning to continue following the customs, rituals and laws given to them by Moses. In this there was great comfort. By obeying the law they were still fulfilling the requirements of God by continuing in the outward practices but inwardly they had hardened their hearts against trusting Jesus and opening themselves up to God’s new revelation.

Jesus words were and still are revolutionary teaching and the demands are just as radical as they were to the people who first heard them and rejected them. Jesus was asking them to depend on him for all their needs. They had had their physical needs met with bread supplied by him in the wilderness but now he was challenging them to depend on him completely. By eating and drinking him they would become a part of him and find themselves in him. This was going to be much more costly than continuing on in the previous arrangement. It meant losing their rights and claims to what they believed God had promised. Sadly they had misunderstood what God had been saying all along.
Jesus turns to the handful of followers left and he asks them if they are going to leave him too? Peter answers “Lord, who else could we turn to? Your words have opened our eyes to life without limit. You have won our trust and we are convinced that you are God’s Holy One.” He probably had very little real understanding of just what he was saying and what this was going to mean.
None of us will ever fully understand God’s call on our lives, we have no idea of just how radical the demands will be and what it may cost us. It is an unfolding journey that takes unexpected twists and bends which can throw us off balance.
If we become stuck we are in danger and could be tempted to walk away and keep our options open. Trying to satisfy our own needs while also trying to listen to God causes frustration and dissatisfaction. Jesus told us sheer will power would never be enough carry us through. Jesus knows us individually better than we know our selves. It is his desire that each one’s life is satisfied in the deepest ways that are best for us. It is his will to heal us, not to hurt or harm us. There’s no uniform blue print, and we are invited to journey in intimacy and friendship.
Jesus says “I am the bread of life….whatever you eat and drink becomes a part of you, but when you consume my flesh and blood, not only will I become a part of you but you’ll find yourself in me, becoming a part of me.” What an amazing gift.


Your words to me are life and health;

they fortify my soul;

enable, guide, and teach my heart

to reach its perfect goal!

Your words to me are light and truth;

from day to day they show

their wisdom, passing earthly lore,

as in their truth I grow.

Your words to me are full of joy,

of beauty, peace, and grace;

from them I learn your blessed will,

through them I see your face.

Your words are perfected in One,

yourself, the living Word;

within my heart your image print

in clearest lines, O Lord.

Time of Prayer

We pray for people who struggle with their lives; for those for whom everything feels like an uphill struggle. We pray for all whose lives have been affected by tragedy…
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for lawmakers and peacekeepers, as they seek to make the world a better place; for police, as they deal with challenging situations…

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the work of hospices, as they seek to bring a good end to life; for staff in care and nursing homes, who have the responsibility of looking after people who are no longer able to care for themselves…

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for parents nurturing children; for teachers; and for the church’s role in the nurture of the young in years and the spiritually young…

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for people living with addictions; for organisations that seek to help them in their search for wholeness, and to bring normality back to their lives…

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for ourselves, that we will make the most of our God-given time, and that we will live well and be thankful…

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.



After being fed by you, Jesus the living bread, send us out to feed others.
Now that we are filled with your Holy Spirit, guide our hands as we offer your life to others.
Now that we have the promise of eternal life with you, Lord God, give us your love to share with the world.

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