Across the Pastor’s Desk: Called to share the bread of life
Published 8:07 pm Thursday, August 30, 2018
Across the Pastor’s Desk by Josh Enderson
Throughout the month of August, churches following the Revised Common Lectionary took a long journey into Jesus’ teaching about the bread of life in John 6. We were reminded of Jesus’ life-giving relationship with us as he taught us that he is our bread of life. This relationship shows up all over in our lives, but we’ve got to keep our eyes open to see it at work. So often, we look for it only in church on Sunday morning. Yes, you will find Jesus there.
But, what about in your garden, at work, or at the dinner table? Is Jesus’ relationship at work there too? What about at the bedside of a loved one, who no longer remembers your name or your face? In all these moments, our bread of life is there, reminding us that we go through nothing in life, be it good or bad, without Jesus holding our hand.
Jesus has a deep and powerful relationship with us. But, here’s the thing about a relationship: it requires all parties to have some responsibility. Being in a relationship with Jesus, our bread of life, means that we are called to go out into our community and world with that bread of life. It means that we have to reach out in love to all of our neighbors, regardless of who they are. It means that we have to sometimes go into the darkest parts of life to be the light of Christ. And this is tough — very tough.
Towards the end of Jesus’ teaching about the bread of life in John 6, we get the crowd’s reactions to all of this, and it’s not very inspiring. “When many of his disciples hear it, they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’… Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.” (John 6:60, 66) With Jesus, our salvation is guaranteed, and there’s nothing we can do to earn it. But, there’s more to God’s grace than salvation.
This grace of God changes us. It gets inside of us and calls on us to reach out and to take up the difficult life of following Jesus. For some, it’s too much. They can’t go where they are called. God still loves them. But, when we go deep into this relationship with Jesus and go where he calls us, we discover a life that we could never have imagined. Our faith life and our everyday life grow and expand, and take on a new depth of meaning. We live our lives not just for ourselves, but in service to Christ, our bread of life.
Josh Enderson is an ELCA pastor at Hayward and Trondhjem Lutheran churches.