Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Simplicity of John 6:24-35

The gospel reading from Sunday just past, John 6:24-35 has a lot of complex stuff in it.  Like--what does it mean that Jesus is the Bread of Life.  I'm not sure I have the answer, but I'll ponder that question tomorrow in my blog entry.  Tonight, there is just one verse from the larger reading on which I choose to focus--verse 29.  Although, I suppose to be fair, I have to include verse 28 as well--as verse 29 is a direct answer to verse 28.

In verse 28, the people ask Jesus, "What can we do to accomplish the works of God?"  In verse 29, immediately following, Jesus give the simplest of answers, "This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”

It could not get much simpler than that.  Of course, there is a critical difference between simple and easy.  It can be simple--like a child believing through a simple matter of trust (and I discussed the faith of a child with respect to last week's reading when Jesus fed thousands with the five loaves and two fish that he took from the young boy).  But being simple doesn't mean it's easy.  Taking off and putting away the things that lead to having an old self, and not a true self is simple but not easy.  Putting on the new self is simple but not easy.  Putting on the true self is not easy.  It makes us vulnerable but it makes us true and whole.  Believing in the one sent by God is a real challenge.  But if that is all there is then I know what to do and I know what I will be judged on.  

And I know that once I believe, everything else will follow.  How to treat family.  How to treat students.  How to treat friends.  How to treat neighbors.  Even how to treat enemies.  We are all children of God created in God's image.  And when I stop to remember that I have that in common with everyone around me that suggests a lot about how I should treat everyone.  If I believe in Christ--the one God sent--and I live my life as if I believe in this then I will act justly and fairly and respectfully to everyone and everything else should just fall into place.  In the same way that I feel God communicates with me just so when I need it, I think that when I follow God, everything else just sort of works itself out.  

Perhaps someday that will not be the case.  But for now, I'll take my chances and make the best of believing in the one God sent and going where that leads me.  To perform the works of God while I am here on this earth.  That will lead to true happiness.

It amazes me how few people see the simplicity here and choose to follow it.  We should be proclaiming the glory of God and the simplicity of the direction that has been given to us by Jesus himself.  Praise the Lord!

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