Living the Lectionary is a weekly devotional tool intended to give you ideas for living out the Word of God that we encounter on Sundays in worship.
About this coming Sunday: 11th Sunday After Pentecost – Bread that Lasts – Eternity is a concept that we deal with as Christians. We believe in an eternal God who has planned for us to leave our time-bondedness and join Him in the foreverness of the Resurrection. Law: We know that our lives end in death, and because of that, we have a tendency to focus on the “short game” of earthly things instead of the “long game” of eternity. Gospel: God has given Himself to us as a gift so that we might begin experiencing eternity now and seeing our lives in the fuller context of this neverending expanse of time that we do not deserve, but have been gifted with.
About this Season and Series:
Sundays After Pentecost/”ReGIFTED” – The long season of Pentecost affords us an opportunity to look into continuous readings from certain books – this year, we have a semi-continuous reading of Ephesians that serves as the basis of the ReGIFTED series.
Reflecting on the Readings (readings are linked to text on ESVbible.com)
I Kings 19:1-8 – The Strength of Bread – We know that certain bread has more calories than other bread, and that we can increase the calories of bread by adding fats and starches to it. Imagine the “Nutrition Facts” label on the bread that Elijah ate which allowed him to live for 40 days. What are the nutrients like that God gives you in His Word?
Psalm 34:1-8– Taste and See – The last line of the Psalm reading encourages the reader “taste and see that the Lord is good!” Surely you have had a moment in your life when you have been skeptical of a food item until you tasted it. How is this like your experience with the Word of God?
Ephesians 4:17-5:2 – Your Eternal Self – Paul reminds the Ephesians to consider themselves in the light of their eternal lives, instead of in the light of the mortal lives that they share with the Gentiles around them. How does Paul see the perspective of eternal life differentiating itself from the perspective of mortal life alone?
John 6:35-51 – Eternal Bread – Jesus contrasts the manna of the wilderness, which did not offer eternal life but did offer mortal life, with Himself as the Bread of Life who gives eternal life. The Jews in the story fail to grasp the distinction between Jesus’ earthly life (born of Mary, adopted Son of Joseph, etc) with His eternal life (Son of God, Word made Flesh). When have you been guilty of making Jesus “too mortal” or perhaps “not mortal enough”?
Gift of God: God’s gift to us is an eternity that begins in our conversion. What does this gift of eternal life mean to you, and how do you experience it?
Giving Ourselves As Gifts: If you know this world is only temporary compared to the eternal life you have ahead of you, you will be able to take more risks to love others in this world. When have you avoided giving yourself as a gift to someone because it seems too costly to your life to do so? Does that cost still seem as important in the perspective of eternity?
Celebrating Gifts Given: Throughout the readings this week, God uses the metaphor of a meal to explain to us the way in which He prepares us for eternity. Who might you thank this week who has shared a meal with you, by returning the favor or simply thanking them again?
Living the Lectionary Ideas
Learn: “The Bread of Life Discourse” (John 6:22-71) is widely debated because of Jesus’ striking words “I am the Bread of Life”. The question is if Jesus is making a claim here about His true presence in the Sacrament of the Altar/Lord’s Supper. Lutherans scholars differ on their opinions about if Jesus is talking about the Lord’s Supper here, or if He is talking about something else. Either way, we affirm that when Jesus says “This is my Body,” that it is. Read this quick run down of how some other denominations understand this discourse (from a Roman Catholic perspective).
Do: We understand eternity vaguely through our concept of time. Review the year past this week, writing down the things that have happened and how they have impacted you. If one non-eternal year has made this much impact on you, imagine the impact of eternity.
Live: Live trying to imagine yourself as an eternal being instead of a mortal one. Because of Christ, you are eternal!