St. John the Evangelist, Smiths Falls. Rev. Brian A. Burrows.
Text: John 6:35,”I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. Those who come to me will never be hungry; those who believe in me will never be thirsty.” GNB.
“Alive, alive oh, alive, alive oh”, are words from a song set in Ireland, sung by a seller of sea food. The food is alive, that is fresh! Is our faith alive, is it still fresh in our hearts? Let us look now at ourselves, at our Church and at our world. We should be challenged by the one who also said in verse 57,”The living Father sent me and because of him I live also.”
The living God!
We believe in God who made the world for us. He is a God who is alive. A God who speaks to his people. Deut. 4:7b,”He answers us whenever we call for help.” The Old Testament constantly confronts idolatry. It asks,'How can graven images talk or walk, etc.?' This God is good. God calls his people also to be good and to obey his commandments. Yet God is also a God of grace and mercy. God wants his people to repent and return to Him. His forgiveness has no strings attached. It is graciously given! We can respond by believing in Him.
The bread of life!
Jesus was given to us by the Father. Hence, the ministry of Jesus shows us a God in action. Believers were taught the Word of God; they were healed by God's grace, brought back to life and encouraged to be followers of the Messiah!
Jesus easily talks of God as his heavenly Father, and declared himself to be the Son of God. We are all the children of God in one sense, but Jesus is the one who proclaims the Kingdom of God. To be alive to God we are called to accept his rule in our lives through and through. In this way, we can become truly alive in body and spirit.
The Spirit brings Life!
To continue to be encouraged in the faith, we are given the gifts of the Spirit. Think of those who became alive in the Spirit of Christ. There is St. Paul on the Damascus Road, who in the words of “Amazing Grace”, could say,”I was blind but now I see.” His conversion enabled the faith to be spread throughout the known world. Or, there is John Newton himself, the hymn's author, who “once was lost but now was found,” when in a terrible storm off the Irish coast, was literally saved from disaster!
The Spirit of Christ is given to us for a purpose – to help others and to advance the Kingdom of God here on earth.
We each are called to testify openly to God's goodness and grace. We are to spread the living message of God's mercy and forgiveness – to show in our lives the same loving-kindness we expect from God to others, in our family, fellowship and Church.
Let us draw together in love as we meet the problems of life. People, the Church,and the world look for guidance from people of faith. Let us not be ashamed to declare that God is alive, alive oh, because we have been made alive in Christ.