Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the father, so whoever eats of me will live because of me. The one who eats this bread will live forever. Many turned away, but when Jesus asked the disciples if they too were going, Peter said, “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.” Peter could have also said, “You are the bread of life. The life that you live, the death that you die, is more alive than any of the false hopes of everlasting good health, wealth, happiness, and security. You are true bread. If we follow you and your ways and your truth, if we trust as you trust, if we let go of our failing attempts, then we will fall into your gracious life of faith and hope, not in ourselves but in God who is beyond words and definitions and certainties. Your bread of faith is true bread. Yes, you have the words of eternal life. We will follow you wherever you go. No matter what.
And that is exactly what Peter did, and James, and John, and Andrew and the others including the women disciples. They all followed Jesus and released themselves into the mercy of God which is so much more helpful than anything we can possibly do for ourselves or anyone else. We can trust, and we can trust that even when we cannot trust, that God will hold us in our salvation, in mercy, in peace, in true safety. Our bread is trust. Our bread is faith in the utterly faithful mercy of God—without exception, without fail. God is good. God calls us to trust. To trust is the easiest thing to do when we run out of other options.
Once we learn to trust we are free. And it is a beautiful freedom indeed. I’m not saying that trust makes pain, trauma, tragedy, loss, disappointment, anger, fear, dread or anything difficult go away. But trust allows us to live into and through all these things. Trust gave Jesus the courage to lay down his life for the least, for the weak, for the poor, for the hopeless. It wasn’t easy, but he did it for love.
And so Jesus invites to pick up where his death and resurrection leave off. To learn to trust as he trusted. To learn to hope that God will carry us through the pain of our lives to find joy. To lay down our lives for love as he laid down his life for love. If anything will bring joy to our lives--that will. If anything will bring hope to our lives and those around us, that will.
So let us trust together, supporting one another every chance we get, trust in the Love of Jesus which is the gift of faith, the bread of life. Trust in God’s mercy for whatever we face as a congregation and as individuals. It’s all we’ve got. But we need each other to find the way. Faith is simple but it takes courage. Let us pray,
Lord teach us to trust. Give us courage to love and to wait, despite appearances of failure and hopelessness. Help us to put one faith foot in front of the other until we see your face. . .in love. Amen.