Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost- Week of August 15, 2021
Begin your devotion time by praying this prayer: Mighty God, through your Son we receive the invitation to rest in your grace and love. Help us rest in the presence of Jesus each day. Amen.
Reflect on the Way of Love together: This week’s practice on the Way of Love is REST. As many communities begin a new school year in the coming month, our lives may become busy and chaotic again. What are some ways you can stop, rest, and remember how much Jesus loves you?
Adult and Small Child
Read: John 6:51-58
Reflect: Once, the people of God were enslaved. They had to make bricks and work hard. They never got a day off. God’s people did not have much time to cook. After God freed them, they got lost. But God knew where they were and what they needed. In Exodus chapter 16, God gave them food that they did not have to work to get. They did not plant it, harvest it, or store it. It was a round, white food that was kind of like bread. They called it, manna, which means “What is it?” There was enough to eat every day. It seemed to come from heaven. How restful…
Jesus is like that “What is it?” bread. He confuses many teachers when he talks about his body being bread. That part is confusing. But Jesus’ promise is not hard to understand. We do not have to be afraid at the end of life. Life will change but it will not be over. We will not be lost. We do not have to work for eternal life. God frees us because God loves us. If we forget, the bread will remind us.
Respond: End each day this week with a simple bedtime ritual of quietly getting into bed. At the end of the day, everything that is going to be done is done. Night is time to rest. You do not have to build bricks. You do not have to plant seeds. You do not have to cook. The adults to care for you will make sure there is enough for tomorrow. The way they love you is like God’s love. God knows where you are and what you need. How God knows everything about you is confusing. But what is easy to understand is that God’s love is enough for all of your tomorrows.
- Lea Colvill
Adult and Elementary
Read: John 6:51-58
Reflect: Jesus uses the language of being the bread of life again in this passage to remind us that, just like healthy and hearty food feeds our bodies and keeps it alive, Jesus restores our spirit and keeps us alive forever as a part of the body of Christ. It is just as important to spend time with God and have a close relationship with Jesus as it is to eat food that nourishes our body and keeps us strong. Think about how your body feels when you have not eaten and are hungry. Do you become tired or irritable? Do you have less energy or ability to accomplish important or difficult tasks? Now think about how your spirit feels when you have not spent time in prayer or with your church family. Do you have any of the same feelings? How might you change your daily habits if you treated time with Jesus as important for your wholeness as regular meal and snack times?
Respond: This is a great lesson to talk about the importance of healthy nutrition and lifestyle habits as well as faith. Jesus is the bread that gives us long life. What are the habits or foods that do not help us stay strong and healthy? What are things that give us a long and healthy life? Do one activity together that helps promote a strong body and mind. A peaceful walk outdoors, making and enjoying a healthy snack, doing a high energy dance break, or a youth-friendly yoga session on YouTube are all enjoyable ideas that remind us how important and FUN it can be to take care of our bodies just like Jesus restores and takes care of our spirit.
- Carla Christopher Wilson
Adult and Youth
Read: John 6:51-58
Reflect: St. Augustine of Hippo lived in the third century. When speaking to those preparing for baptism about the bread of the Eucharist, he said something to the effect of, “Behold what you are, become what you eat.” In other words, behold the bread of life, become the Body of Christ. The grace in the words of Jesus contained in this passage from the Gospel of John is that the presence of Jesus in our lives is a force for healing. The healing we experience from abiding in Jesus is more than a physical healing. It is a healing of the whole person, deep into our very souls. Further, healing just isn’t for ourselves alone; it is also about the restoring of relationships, the strengthening of our unity with Christ and one another.
Respond: Write down one thing you for which you need to forgive yourself. Another option is to write down a wound, physical or emotional, for which you need healing. Offer this to God in prayer. Use the prayer for Strength and Confidence found on page 459 or For Quiet Confidence on page 832 in the Book of Common Prayer. Spend 5-10 minutes in silence mediating on God’s love for you.
Also, write down a relationship that needs healing. Consider contacting that person to apologize, ask for forgiveness, or discuss a way to reconcile. Use the prayer for In Time of Conflict on page 824 or a Collect for Grace on page 100 in the Book of Common Prayer.
- Dorian Del Priore
Adult and Adults
Read: John 6:51-58
Reflect: Jesus’ invitation to us is one to a meal. Like a good host, he provides everything we need. The bread and wine are already there, we simply need to partake in it. This invitation is really an offer for rest. When Jesus talks about us abiding in him, it paints a picture in our minds of safety and rest. We spend so much of our mental and physical energy trying to make things work. Whether it be at home, at work, with our children, or in our friendships; we are constantly on the move. We live in a high pressure, high achievement society, where to be average often feels like failure. Jesus understands the mental toll that this can take on us and thus invites us to a meal. Grace is the one area of our lives in which we do nothing to earn our place. It is freely given by the host of the meal. True rest in Jesus is the ability to sit back and enjoy the meal knowing we don’t have to do the dishes when it’s all done.
Respond: Most people feel as though their days could use an extra hour or two. Many would attest that they are juggling too many things. Jesus’ invitation to abide in him is an offer for the rest that so many of us desperately need. This week, make rest a priority. Whatever activity or non-activity is most restful to you, find 30 minutes each day for it. Afterwards, take time to pray and ask God to teach you the true meaning of resting in Jesus.
- CJ Quartlbaum