Trust that God will nourish us each day

Mary Copping, 1 August 2021

Exodus 16: 2–4, 9–15; John 6: 24–35

How uplifting it’s been to watch the Olympic Games, to rejoice with those who win medals and feel for those who don’t do so well. And how wonderful it is that competitors who are far away from home can see their families on screen – you see them watching their families celebrating at home and they’re saying, ‘Well done!’ and giving them their love and congratulations.

Of course, if Britain does well, we do feel a real sense of achievement, but it’s so good to see so many people from around the world who’ve struggled to get where they are, and they’re rewarded for all their hard work and determination. Or not do so well, and we feel so much for each one of them.

I was very moved especially by the story of Bethany Shriver who won gold for her BMX race. No sponsorship, though the BMX men’s team had been given sponsorship. Why? She had to crowdfund to get enough money to get over to Tokyo with her team, but she did it! After the race she said she was thrilled even to be there, then thrilled that she was in the finals, then thrilled that she won a medal, but to win gold – she said was still in shock. Such good news stories raise our spirits, don’t they, and give us opportunity to rejoice with those who rejoice.

In our gospel reading Jesus says to the disciples, ‘For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world’. Watching the Olympics and seeing the good news stories is giving life to the world at the moment. After all the sadness we have been through, and are still going through for some of us, God is giving life to the world through his Spirit, through his nourishment, through all that he is doing in the world.

When the Israelites were going through the desert led by Moses, they were hungry and God fed them with bread from heaven. The manna came down from heaven each day, enough for everyone. If people tried to store it for the next day, it just went mouldy, so they had to trust that God would feed them each day.

As we receive the wafer today, we are receiving the bread from heaven, we’re being fed by God. Peter Seal helpfully often describes receiving the wafer as like a baby receiving nourishment from their mother, so we receive nourishment from God. We receive the essence of Jesus, we receive strength for the week ahead, we receive the life of Christ.

As we don’t receive wine at the moment, some people may feel short-changed, that we are only receiving half of what God wants to give us. But receiving the wafer alone, described as receiving in one kind, we receive Christ whole and undivided; we receive all that is necessary for our salvation, we receive strength for each day. So as we come to Christ’s table this morning, let’s thank him for who he is and all that means to each one of us.

And as we look at the children and young people here today, and think of all those not able to be with us today, let’s pray for them, and for their future, and all that God is going to do in their lives. Let’s pray that God will bless us all, use us all, and that each of us, young and old, come into the life that God has for each one of us. Amen.