Daily Prayer for 29 April (Easter 3: Saturday)

Preparation

O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

In your resurrection, O Christ,
let heaven and earth rejoice. Alleluia.

Blessed are you, Lord God of our salvation,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
As once you ransomed your people from Egypt
and led them to freedom in the promised land,
so now you have delivered us from the dominion of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your risen Son.
May we, the first fruits of your new creation,
rejoice in this new day you have made,
and praise you for your mighty acts.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.

John 6.60-69

When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’ But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, ‘Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, ‘For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.’ 

Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’ 

Reflection

Many of the disciples said: ‘This teaching is difficult’ … and no longer went about with him.

Good teachers develop different ways of presenting facts in order that their students might acquire both knowledge and understanding. Good teachers work hard at developing their own understanding of the different ways in which students learn. Some students will prefer an intellectual, book-centred style of learning, whilst others will achieve a greater level of understanding through practical experience. Each student is different and it is the responsibility of their teachers to work with this in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Jesus was the perfect teacher. Throughout his ministry he taught, preached and demonstrated the truths that would open the kingdom of heaven to all who chose to take that route. He also did the inexplicable in order that he might spark our curiosity and excitement. Jesus understands each of us so well that none of us could doubt his skill as a teacher, quite apart from the fact that he had the most important and thrilling knowledge to pass on.

Teaching is, of course, a two-way process. Even the very best teaching is futile if the student will not engage with the lesson that is being taught. Teaching and learning are inextricably linked. Perhaps we can remember how teaching and learning worked in our own school days. We can probably remember those lessons that left us bewildered and confused. That may have been down to poor teaching technique, but it is more probable that there were faults on both sides of the equation. Perhaps we should have asked ourselves about our own intellectual inertia, our own unwillingness to engage.

In today’s reading we read of many of his disciples expressing their confusion because Jesus’ teaching is difficult. Given the millions of contradictory books we could read on theological issues it is difficult for us to disagree with those disciples. But, do we exert sufficient effort when it comes to learning, understanding and applying Jesus’ teaching? Or … do we take the easy route, the one that leads us away from Christ?

Today we are challenged to respond to that old-time school report favourite: Could do better! We are challenged to listen, to question and to experiment. We are challenged to trust in the quality and the veracity of Jesus’ teaching. We are challenged to rise to the top of the class as we seek to follow the path that his teaching illuminates for all who have faith in him.

Prayers

To Christ, the Lamb who was slain,
and who now lives in the glory of the Father,
let us lift our voices in praise, saying:
risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

Lord Jesus, you are the Amen, the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You are Alpha and Omega,
the one who is, and was, and who is to come:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You search into the thoughts and affections of all people:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You reprove and chasten those whom you love:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You open the eyes of the blind
and set the prisoners free:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

In your paschal victory,
you have proclaimed the coming of the kingdom:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

God of glory,
by the raising of your Son
you have broken the chains of death and hell:
fill your Church with faith and hope;
for a new day has dawned
and the way to life stands open
in our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen.

Rejoicing in God’s new creation,
let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

The God of peace,
who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
that great shepherd of the sheep,
through the blood of the eternal covenant,
make us perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.
Amen.