This Sunday’s Gospel reading is John 6.35,41-51
Jesus 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.’ …
Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’
This week the church has celebrated the Feast of the Transfiguration – when the light of God shines through Christ, in the presence of Peter, James and John. In the Transfiguration, Christ is revealed as the first-fruits of God’s new creation. The disciples want to stay on the mountain-top, enjoying this vision, but Jesus bids them come with him back down to level ground.
Sunday’s Gospel reading reinforces this point. God’s glory is not only found in the obviously spectacular, but in things which seem ordinary and unremarkable. The Word became flesh, not in a palace or a temple, but in a humble family. Heaven comes down to earth in ‘the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know’.
The Eucharist, Holy Communion, the Mass – whatever we call it, this central act of Christian worship takes the ordinary things of daily life (bread and wine, which earth has given and human hands have made) and shows us that in these things, we encounter Jesus Christ. The Eucharist is not, then, an act separate from the rest of our lives. Rather, it shows us that daily life is something that can reveal the grace of God, if we have eyes to see it.
How can our common life – the way wealth and power is used and shared – reveal the grace and the justice of God? The vision of a society that reveals God’s grace and justice stands at the heart of the Bible. Pray for all Christians who grapple with these issues in their workplace and in their neighbourhoods.
The Olympics have been an occasion of real gathering and celebration together across cultures and communities. Pray that this experience may give people a hunger for a deeper fellowship, and a more just and joyful common life – and give thanks for the role churches have already played in making the Olympics serve the needs of the boroughs of London in which it is set.