Podcast: Play in new window
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSS | More
Jesus said to the crowd, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.’
Jesus said to the crowd: ‘Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’
What do we mean by the words ‘hunger’ and ‘thirst’? Obviously, we use these terms when we are in need of food and drink, but that is not their only meaning. To hunger can also refer to a strong desire or a longing for something. When we speak of thirst we could be speaking of an eager desire or a craving for something. When we say we are thirsty we might also be speaking of our feeling dry and arid in both a physical and a spiritual sense. We need food and drink to sustain our physical bodies, but we should not ignore our spiritual well-being as we focus our attention on our worldly needs and fancies.
So, how do we refresh, revive and strengthen our spiritual cravings? Even those who would not describe themselves as being followers of Christ speak of their spiritual needs. In recent times a whole gamut of mind, body and spirit theories and practices have arisen. Many of those practices are rooted in religious beliefs and rituals, even though that is rarely appreciated by their practitioners. So, I ask again … how do we refresh, revive and strengthen our spiritual cravings?
Jesus makes it clear that the way of true discipleship demands a self-sacrificial approach to life. He speaks of the need to take up our own crosses and follow him on the path that leads through death into eternal life. The path of spiritual development is challenging because it flies in the face of so much the world values. The true disciple is called to pray, to engage with scripture, to join in the fellowship of Christ’s Church. There is also the call to allow ourselves to be fed by the one who is the Bread of Life.
At the Last Supper Jesus gave us the liturgy that lies at the heart of the Christian Church – Holy Communion. Our participation in that ritualised meal reminds us of the One who came to earth to bring us forgiveness and salvation; it also nourishes us in a way that brings us into the closest of relationships with him. Through the bread and the wine that is offered and consumed in remembrance of Jesus Christ our hunger is satisfied and our thirst is quenched, and we are strengthened to further Christ’s mission in the world.
Let us pray that we might not only receive the bread and the wine of Holy Communion, but that we might also use the strength it gives us to tread the path of true discipleship for the whole of our earthly lives.