It’s not easy, this believer lark. At least, I don’t find it so. Do I always respond to people as Jesus would? No. Am I diligent in prayer? Hmm… When I look at myself do I see myself modelling love in practical situations? Again… Hmm… Maybe you share some of these challenges?
Well, if so, we are in good company. The Bible is full of people who found it tough to accept and love God. As this passage shows, even the disciples found it tough.
For reasons I cannot fathom, today’s reading made me think of a song by Muse. This is a band I have seen a number of times - they do everything on an extravagant scale. The last concert I went to, they had a dozen or so real-life drones flying around the audience. Their song 'Supermassive Black Hole' deals with unconditional - maybe even obsessional - love of the human kind:
"You set my soul alight
Glaciers melting in the dead of night
And the superstars sucked into the
Super massive black hole"
What an image! And yet human love is such a pale shadow of God's love for us. What a place of sanctuary that love can be for us.
Almighty God, you have created the vastness of the universe and the compass of time. You have created my insignificant beating heart but have given it a universal meaning because you love me. Help me to grasp that I have eternity within my grasp because of your grace. I could never deserve your love, but you cannot love me more. AMEN.
56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’ 59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.
60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’ 61 But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, ‘Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But among you there are some who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 65 And he said, ‘For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.’
66 Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67 So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ 68 Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’