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Many churches worldwide follow the Revised Common Lectionary for their Sunday scripture readings. This year we get five Sundays in a row of John 6; this year I'm blogging five Sundays of John 6 on my Urban Wilderness Lectionary Project blog.
32Then Jesus said to them, "Amen, Amen, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." 34They said to him, "Lord, give us this bread evermore."
35Jesus 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. … 38for I have come down from heaven…"
42And the religious authorities said, "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'?"
Writing for five
Bread from heaven gives life to the world. I am the bread of life… from heaven. John begins his gospel account with, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
The synagogue leaders were confused because they knew Jesus as a local guy, son of Mary and Joseph. They were right! Like them, we know Jesus born in Bethlehem – Little Town of House of Bread – came from the earth, his body made of creation's stuff—just like ours. Yet Jesus is from heaven. How about us?
Every one of us comes from a certain place on the map: born one place, maybe we currently live in a different one. We've been born of particular parents, and in some cases, adopted by different ones. Many of us have been nomadic enough to have more than one reply to "where are you from?"—depth and complexity of anyone's answer all depends. My casual one is "Los Angeles," but I've been known to backtrack with "I'm from San Diego," or go wayback to my geographical origins on Mobile Bay. Like Jesus, we're from earth; like Jesus, we're from heaven, too, as baptized we breathe the Spirit of the Divine.
"From heaven" means knowing justice, love, mercy, and grace. "From earth?" Solid (sometimes shifting?) ground underfoot, sun in our face, feasts of food and friends … sometimes a deluge of hunger, loneliness, thirst, and want.
When heaven and earth meet in Jesus, in each of us…?