This coming Sunday is July 26, 2009 – the 17th Sunday after Pentecost. The Gospel passage, John 6:1-21, can be found here.
I have a love-hate relationship with the Gospel of John. I love the rich images, the layered metaphors, the themes that undulate throughout and tie together in various ways by the end. I dislike how hard it is, for these reasons, to preach on John in snippets.
There is a fancy church term for snippets: “pericopes.” Literally, it means…snippets.
Some Bible stories lend themselves easily to snippets; they have clear beginnings, middles, and ends, with plots and characters and easy-to-find conclusions. Others are more like eavesdropping at your parents’ door late at night in the middle of the conversation. What conclusions you draw depends more on your state of mind than what is actually going on.
So this Sunday, we have the miraculous feeding story, the withdrawal from the crowds, the reunion as Jesus walks on water. Three distinct acts in one very, very long and very, very odd day-in-the-life with Jesus.
Many will conclude that the obvious theme here is the miracles that Jesus performs, in both the multiplication of food and the walking on water. He reveals his power in public (food) and in private (walking on water). I see something rather different. Perhaps larger. I see John laying out his re-definition of a king. What a king does, how a king acts, where even a king resides. King Jesus seems like no king this world has ever seen. On this day, he ingratiates himself to no one, he refuses any attempt to popularize him…and he wouldn’t even get in the boat with his friends.
Snippets of a king, and His kingdom. What conclusions do you draw from what you read and experience of this King?
King of creation, what are you showing us? Where are you leading us? Amen.