ENGAGING THE PRACTICAL TIP
On Sunday, Pastor Anna delved into Jesus’ dialogue with the people in the latter half of the sixth chapter of the gospel of John. Among other things, Pastor Anna described how Jesus continuously invited the people to look more deeply into what they really wanted and more closely at what Jesus was really offering. This week, we’d like to invite you to continue this journey by looking more closely at your own desires and what Jesus is offering you. Our meditations will all be taken from the sixth chapter of the gospel of John.
In verse 26, Jesus says to the crowd: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.” The people of Jesus’ time clearly had a significant dependence on food. Their food supply was more local than our own. It was more seasonal. It was extremely dependent on timely rain. Yet Jesus chides them for simply looking to be fed, and hopefully be fed regularly, to be rid of this dependence. Read verse 26 slowly; once, twice, maybe three times. What do you desire? Do any of your desires feel particularly urgent today? How do they compare to the people’s desire to be fed actual food in Jesus’ time? Take a few minutes to sit with your current situation. Let your desires (and concerns) float to the surface. Invite God to join you in this process. Try to imagine Jesus looking at your present situation with you. Or, since the Holy Spirit is often referred to as the “counselor”, invite your counselor to meet with you to look at your situation and how you are approaching it. The goal here is not to “fix” things, just to become aware of our desires and how they drive the actions that we are taking and how we feel while we are doing them. Take some notes if this seems appropriate.
In verses 35-37, Jesus goes on: “I, I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”
Read these verses a few times, slowly, paying attention to the places where you feel God may be speaking to you. What do these words mean to you? What does it mean to never be hungry or thirst? What does it mean to believe in Jesus? Does it seem realistic that Jesus will never reject anyone who comes to him, or does it seem too good to be true? Invite Jesus to ponder these questions with you. How does believing in Jesus compare to the desires that felt in your first meditation above? Invite Jesus to sit with you in this comparison.
Does this meditation bring you peace, joy, consolation? Do you feel any anxiety, concern, maybe even anger? Share these feelings with God. How does God “seem” while you do this? Again, jot down any thoughts or feelings that seem significant. If appropriate, share them with a trusted friend.
Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.