Sermon: Frank Moritz-Jauk
Jesus, the Bread of Life John 6, 27-35
Dear Congregation, we are taking the Lord’s Supper today. Just like we have had communion many times before. When we receive the bread, we often hear these words, which are also part of today’s reading: Eat the bread of life. Jesus said, I am the bread of life.
Although all the adults in this room know what is meant by this. I would like to ask the children: how does this work? How can one eat Jesus?
I think that probably Jesus‘ listeners looked at him with huge eyes: huh? How should we do that? Should we tear off a piece of you? Sometimes this is done with pita bread – Jesus – should we now bite your arm? Naturally this is not what was meant. How should we understand it? I think we can think about what bread is. In many cultures around the world, bread is a very important staple. So important that it is still subsidized in many countries. Subsidized means that the State supports the price of the bread. The State gives money so that the price is kept low so that even poor people can buy bread. In Egypt this still happens. The State of Egypt contributes almost ¼ of the money to support the bread and vegetable oil prices.
Although Egypt does not belong to the richest countries in the world – they give a lot and it shows how important bread is. Everyone needs bread.
So when Jesus says, I am the bread of life, then Jesus is making a connection between what everyone needs in life, bread, nourishment and….
What could that be? What else do we need to live?
We need air to breath, and we need water because we are thirsty. Not only because we are thirsty but also because we consist mainly out of water. Babies are 95% water and those of us who are older, more mature consist of 70% water. Besides the bodily things which keep our bodies alive, what else do we need to live?
I think that people need a community with others in order to live. Not everyone one of us needs the same amount of commumity but to be alone? Perhaps it is cool for a while because not one cuts you off while talk or tells you what to do or say. But always alone? One can’t tell or share anything that one discovered or something incredible that was found. Who wants to go on vacation alone? There are some whoh do and there are reasons to go on vacation alone but usually people are together when they are out and about. People live in relationships. I have a relationship to my mother. I have a relationship to my grandfather. Or to a friend. Or to persons whom I met in church. There are many different kinds of relationships.
What is this relationship all about? What is happening here?
In our human relationships we show one another an entire spectrum of our thoughts and feelings in different forms. This means that we are friendly to one another, we help each other, we laugh together, yes and human beings can love one another. Because we are human beings with, fortunately a grown thick head, we do not just have positive feelings. We human beings can also hurt one another. We can insult one another, we hurt each other and it can go so far that we can hate one another.
We humans are guilty of one another. Our togetherness if unable, fragile and fickle. Sometimes its like this – sometimes like that – to put it simply. But to say it as easily as possible – God knows everything because he has created us. God knows everything because he knows us better than we know ourselves. God knows, that we need something, that is so important like bread. What could that be? Why do we need God? Or why do we need Jesus, the bread of life? I think we people need forgiveness. Jesus has enabled this forgiveness in us. God has come from Heaven and has shown in the person, Jesus, that love is stronger than death. To put is simply – Jesus loved the people. He stood up for the weak. He wanted to bring back the lost, like the customs officers, into the community. One tried to silence this message by killing Jesus on the cross. But god did not let this, life has prevailed.
Jesus talks about this connection when he says: you can kill my body but you cannot stop God’s message of love. In order to remember what happened here – we celebrate the Lord’s Supper.
Holy communion says: You can receive this good, vital message just like you eat a piece of bread. You can taste it and experience that God gives you what you need for life. Forgiveness, as someting that you cannot get yourself. Taste and see and afterwards we will hear how friend the Lord is. Good to those who trust in him. Amen