“‘This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?’ … After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with Jesus.” (John 6:60, 66)
Along with those first disciples, the past several weeks we’ve been hearing Jesus declare himself to be the bread of life, and offer his flesh and blood as food and drink. Many of those first disciples are scandalized by these words – remember that Greek word, skandalizō? The word literally means “to trip.” The imagery behind it is someone who trips on a stone and falls off the path. These disciples trip and fall over the words of Jesus, and no longer listen to him, walk with him, believe in him (John 6:61-66).
Not so with us. We stand with the Twelve who remain with Jesus and declare, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69). We believe in him, walk with him, listen to him.
Listening to Jesus – that will be the focus of our time together this upcoming Sunday, and a reminder of the Four Priorities and Practices the Lord has set before Immanuel:
Reflective Listening: We are to cultivate fresh ways of listening to Jesus, to each other, and to our neighbors — listening to, understanding, and responding to hearts, rather than merely hearing and reacting to words.
Listening to Jesus – understanding and responding to his heart – is our beginning and ongoing point of return. Since he alone has the words of life, we need to hear from him in every situation and every relationship. What creates the space for you to listen to Jesus?
I look forward to being with you this Sunday, listening together to the words of Jesus in Scripture, liturgy, and song, and receiving the Word, the very presence of Jesus, in the Eucharist.
Your Pastor in Christ,
P.S. This Sunday we’re going to have two additional important moments during the service. We’re going to pray a blessing over all those returning to school – students, teachers and staff – and give them a small gift to help in listening to Jesus throughout the school day. We’re also going to commission Bryan Zwanzig as Head Usher. (Thank you Mike Floresca for serving in this capacity for the past year!)