Finding the Lessons

I try to post well in advance of the upcoming Sunday.

You will want to scroll down to find the bible study for the lessons closest to the upcoming Sunday.

The blog will be labeled with proper, liturgical date, and calendar date.

You can open the monthly calendar to the left and find the readings in order.

You can also search below by entering the liturgical date, scripture, or proper. This will pull up all previous posts.


Search This Blog by Proper and Year (ie: Proper 8B or Christmas C or Advent 1A)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Proper 16B/Ordinary 21B/Pentecost 13

"...the bread of life discourse represents a christological exposition of the Old Testament manna tradition. Eucharistic language is thus probably used not as an end in itself, but because it enables faith in Jesus to be expounded in a way that is relevant to the Johannine community's legitimation of its beliefs and practices in the context of its conflict with the synagogue."

"Food For Thought: The Bread of Life Discourse (John 6:25-71) in Johannine Legitimation," by James F. McGrath, from Theological Gathering 2 (Winter 1997).


God our Savior, in Christ, your eternal Word, you have revealed the full depths of your love for us.  Guide this holy assembly of your people by the light of your Holy Spirit, so that no word of mere human wisdom may ever cause us to turn away from your Holy One.  We ask this through Christ, with whom you have raised us up in baptism, the Lord who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

From Prayers for Sunday and Seasons, Year B, Peter J. Scagnelli, LTP, 1992.

Some Thoughts on John 6:56-69

We have spent some time over the past few weeks reviewing and pondering the implications of the bread of life on our Episcopal theology, ecclesiology, and liturgy.  We continue in the first part of our reading as before. 

While in the previous verses we have focused our attention on real food, here John transitions to speaking about an "imperishable food that is the source of eternal life." (Raymond Brown, John, vol 29, 292)

If we compare vs 54 with 56 we see that eternal life itself is to be close and in communion with Jesus. (Ibid)  The very nature of claiming to be Christian and Episcopalian is rooted deeply in this notion that we remain in Jesus and that Jesus is in us.  We cannot stress enough that what we are speaking about is physical AND spiritual. That we believe that we, when we remain close and in communion with Jesus, participate physically and spiritually in the life of God, in the life to come, in everlasting or eternal life. This is the unbroken nature of communion which is provided between God through the incarnation to God's people. God proclaims that we are to be his people and he is to be our God.

So, when we arrive at the very last verses of today's reading (which are actually a portion of the following pericope in the scripture) we see that there is an acclamation of faith; a moment as important as Caesarea of Philippi.  It is an affirmation of the revelation of God by those around him which fill the gospel tradition.  We have an exclamation point if you will to the reality of remaining in Christ.

Here are the three key verses:

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.”

It is true that many authorities believe this is added by a later author/editor. It is true that there are competing theories about this scholastically.  But here is the important piece: as Episcopalians we root and connect the first part of the text (bread of life) with the second part (a statement of faith).

We might be tempted as "want to be" scholars to preach and separate the two. I say we should not.  In fact to do so misses a very important part of who we are as Episcopalians; and Eucharistically centered Christians.

We believe that communion with Christ is mediated (regardless of your theology on presence) by the rite we use; which was instituted by Jesus.  A rite that includes the proclamation that "we believe" and the sharing of good news of God in Christ Jesus followed by the grace of forgiveness and a holy meal.  Moreover, we have believed and believe today that not only does Christ commune with his people in the Eucharist and his people with Christ; but also that a bond of communion is created between fellow Christians. 

Communion, participation in an Episcopal service of the Eucharist, is a very physical, spiritual, and personal engagement with God.  It includes an activity of God towards his people, a thanksgiving for that action, a surrendering and outpouring of love towards God, and the "individual union with Christ, both Go and [people], in whom the self-giving of God and the self-surrender of [men and women] meet." (Doctrine in the Church of England, 165)  As our own Book of Common prayer states it:

"The inward and spiritual grace in the Holy Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ given to his people, and received by faith.  The benefits we receive are the forgiveness of sins, the strengthening of our union with Christ and one another, and the foretaste of the heavenly banquet which is our nourishment in eternal life."

To say and believe any more or any less may certainly be Christian, but it is not Episcopalian.

We have come to believe that God in Christ Jesus is the very Holy One of God.  And, therefore, we seek communion with him, through the means he gave us: the Eucharistic feast. For Episcopalians the unity of our affirmation of the revelation of God is experienced in the meal we share together around the table of Jesus Christ.

A Little Bit for Everyone

 go? You have the words of eternal life.69We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

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