Sermon Notes for Sunday 12th. August 2018.
2 Samuel 18:5-9, 31-33. David commands his military leaders to ensure that his son Absalom is not harmed, but they fail, and Absalom is killed in battle. When David hears the news, he grieves, wishing that he had died instead of his son.
Psalm 130. A Psalm of faith and trust in God who forgives sins and whose promises bring hope and redemption to God’s people.
Ephesians 4:25-5:2. The apostle instructs the Ephesian believers on how to live as true followers of Christ. He encourages them to be honest with one another, to speak to one another in edifying ways, and to avoid anger, shouting and slander, choosing instead the way of forgiveness and compassion.
John 6:35, 41-51. Jesus proclaims himself as the bread of life, and responds to his critics by comparing the life that he gives to the manna that their ancestors ate in the wilderness – which could not keep them from death. Rather, Jesus, says, he gives life that does not end, and he reveals God to those who are drawn to him.
Reverend Tania writes,
This week in the Lectionary holds together a variety of disparate elements. In the ongoing saga of David’s Reign we jump forward to the rebellion led by his son Absalom, and to Absalom’s death. Once again, we find David grieving an enemy, although this time he grieves as a father as well. In the Gospel we find Jesus being challenged for saying that he is the bread of life, and claiming that he reveals God, that he offers eternal life to those who come to him, and that his followers will be raised by him at the last day.
There is a tremendous strength in Jesus’ response to his critics, even as he proclaims a deeply invitational message. In Paul’s words to the Ephesian Church, some simple, practical guidelines are offered for living together as Christ followers. How we speak to one another and treat one another is significant, because it builds our life together, and reflects the life and grace of God. The Psalm calls on believers to praise God for God’s faithfulness and salvation. In the light of this, it may seem impossible to find a common thread for this week’s worship.
However, what stands out is a call to Christlike behaviour that is lived in the daily routines of our lives. As we celebrate God’s goodness, we are called to reflect and imitate that goodness in Christlike grace, compassion, gentleness, and honesty. We are called to resist evil, but love those who oppose us, even to the point of grieving their demise. This is not just living “what comes naturally,” but is a challenge to embrace forgiveness, love and honesty in a radical, counter-cultural way, and in so doing, allowing God’s life to flow through us to touch and restore our neighbours, our communities and our world.
The simple challenge of this week is to believe that choosing to live like Christ – the Bread of Life – each day can have positive consequences for our world. As someone once suggested, we need to think globally and act locally – even in considering our daily interactions and choices. May the grace, honesty and compassion of Jesus be seen in us a little more because we have worshipped this week.
Prayerfully, Rev. Tania.