Dear Partners in Mission:
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35
For the past several weeks the lectionary texts have focused in on the “bread discourse” of John Chapter 6. Coming on the heels of John’s accounting of the miracle of loaves and fishes in this series of readings Jesus is trying to shift his followers vision. They are amazed by the amount of food produced by the miracle, Jesus is desiring they see the miracle right in front of them, the incarnation of God. And through this discourse we see the difficulty they have of catching that vision, focused as they are on satisfied stomachs.
Reading this text on the happy side of Easter it is easy to critique those who just couldn’t catch Jesus’ vision. Yet it is clear to me that time and again we ourselves fail to catch Jesus’ vision. A vision about real food for real stomachs yet comes with a bigger vision of God’s provision. When we are in a difficult season as we are and have been for some time now our focus can, for good reason, become very small. In a season where we have many things to be anxious about just making it through the day becomes a significant challenge and victory. And that is why we need to hear Jesus’ words again. “I am the bread of life.” Life abundantly given so that in the midst of challenge we know that God has given us enough.
One of my great laments in this time is that we have not been able to gather as synod for worship together. To be fed at the table of grace and hear the Word proclaimed. To be together in community to remind us in this time we are not alone and to expand our vision again of who and what the church is. So we have planned to gather together, on September 11, 2021. That day was chosen as our synod council and Mission Endowment Fund board were already scheduled to meet then. It is also a complicated day for us as we will recall the events 20 years ago on September 11, 2001. But the reality is when we gather in community it is always a bit complicated. We all come with our own stories of joy and lament, and yet we gather to receive the same thing, the bread of life.
We will continue to be aware of the reality of Covid-19 across our territory. The events of this day are scheduled to be outside and as such as safe as possible. Masks will be encouraged at all times and required to enter any building. I hope that you will plan to join us as we gather as synod for the first time since April 2019. To be encouraged by community, and fed by the bread of life.