Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost- Week of August 8, 2021
Begin your devotion time by praying this prayer: Holy God, you sent your Son to live among us and teach us how to live. Help us receive Jesus with open hearts and open our minds to learning more about Him. Amen.
Reflect on the Way of Love together: This week’s practice on the Way of Love is LEARN. In this passage, Jesus teaches about one of the ways in which we live an abundant life through Him. What have you learned about Jesus in the last year? How have these lessons taught you about what it means to live in the way of Jesus’ love?
Adult and Small Child
Read: John 6:35, 41-51
Reflect: Some people thought Jesus was way too much. People paid attention to Him because he could heal, feed and teach people. It is hard to learn how He did these things except with God’s help. Jesus wanted too much attention so he could help people and teach them about God’s love. In John 10:10 he said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (NRSV) Abundant means too much to understand. We can have too much love to understand. Too many stars to understand. Too many questions to understand. Many of Jesus’ friends were hungry, so Jesus compared Himself to bread that was too much to understand. Not just normal bread, but the bread of life. What would it be like if you had more yummy, fresh bread than you could eat? You might have seconds or share your bread. Jesus’ bread of life meant that people learned to be braver at the end of life. Later, Jesus would teach us to know Him from the inside out by eating special bread whenever we want to remember Him. I wonder what you might learn from being part of Jesus’ thanksgiving meal?
Respond: Color a picture of your family gathered around a table for a meal. Who can be part of God’s thanksgiving meal? Is there a place for you? Is there always room for one more friend? Yes! God makes a place at the table for everyone who wants to come. God promises to teach everyone who has a question. You are never too much for God. This kind of God love is abundant! It never runs out, never gets tired and is forever and ever. It is too good to understand.
- Lea Colvill
Adult and Elementary
Read: John 6:35, 41-51
Reflect: Our Way of Love practice this week is learn. We can grow closer to God by studying the life and the teachings of Jesus and the many people of faith in the Bible. In this passage, Jesus references several other Bible stories. Can you spot any of them? You can understand when people talking to Jesus mention Jesus being born to Mary and Joseph because you know the story of the first Christmas. In verse 45 Jesus also mentions the words of the prophets from the Old Testament. Jesus is talking about Isaiah 54:13 where the prophet Isaiah assures the people of Jerusalem that God will find a special way to teach their children. Jesus is that way! Not everyone believes Jesus when he tries to tell them he is God’s son. Jesus does not get angry, but he repeats his important message. If we believe in Jesus as the son of God, Jesus will take care of us and let us live with God forever. Have you ever spoken about something that was very important to you but others did not listen? Try to remember a time when you told the truth but others did not believe you? How did that make you feel? Thank goodness Jesus kept telling the truth and did not get discouraged.
Respond: Play a game of “truth or lie” and take turns having one person be the speaker (this generally works best if an adult goes first.) That person shares a simple fact about themselves and other players get to guess if it is a true or false. You can also draw a simple figure or even trace an outline of yourself of a large piece of paper or use blank paper people cutouts if available. On the paper, write things that are true. Make sure to include things that are true about you because you are a child of God, examples of this are: “forgiven,” “loved,” or “blessed.”
- Carla Christopher Wilson
Adult and Youth
Read: John 6:35, 41-51
Reflect: This is the first “I am” statement in the Gospel of John. The words and imagery used by Jesus reflect and echo how God sustained God’s people with manna in the wilderness. Here too, Jesus is talking about more than just the relief of literal hunger. In some ways, this passage feels like a bookend to what Jesus says in John 10:10: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (NRSV) What might this look like? Jesus lays it out for us. First, trust that God is always doing something new. Second, offer to God the whole of our lives. Yes, the best and most wonderful, and also the most pressing concerns and challenging issues. Finally, look for what God is doing, how God is moving, and seek to partner with God’s work and movement. When Jesus becomes the sustaining presence of every facet of our lives, we find a freedom to live more abundantly. This is not meant to be a naïve posture that looks at life through rose colored glasses; instead, Jesus becomes an undergirding foundation that gives us purpose, direction, and hope.
Respond: Ask three adults about their favorite passages of scripture that give them hope, encouragement, and inspiration. Bonus points if it is a story about the life of Jesus. What is it about these words of scripture that speak to them? Are there specific life events or experiences attached to these passages?
- Dorian Del Priore
Adult and Adults
Read: John 6:35, 41-51
Reflect: Jesus makes a strange promise in this passage. He says that if we come to Him and believe in Him, then we will never be hungry or thirsty again. Chances are, if you’re reading this, then you’ve come to and believe in Jesus. And yet, you still need to eat and drink every day. Did Jesus lie? Was he confused? The answer is no. He was pointing His audience to a greater reality. Those of us who trust in and follow Jesus get to experience eternal satisfaction. While we may get hungry and be thirsty today, what we get from Jesus satisfies our souls in a way even the most lavish meal could not. But in order for us to fully experience this, we have to know Him. Really know Him. We achieve this by spending time in prayer and reading Scripture. This is our connection to the life and teachings of Jesus. It is important for us to spend time each day nurturing and growing that relationship with Him. It is through this relationship that we find our souls satisfied and fulfilled by His Spirit.
Respond: A big part of the strength of our relationship with Jesus is based on how well we know Him. This week, take some time to memorize a passage of Scripture. Dwell on it and practice it each day.
- CJ Quartlbaum