Sunday 26th August

Psalm 84

How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!  …

Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, …

Happy are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.  …

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power….

Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication…

John 6:56-69 

Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. …Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.

… It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless…

So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

In Psalm 84 we have a picture of people on pilgrimage to the temple passing through the greening dry valley and on to the gleaming citadel of the temple. They see the beauty of the built temple and notice how nature invades its holiness.

This simple picture carries us through the other readings. Our prayer is to be inhabited by God’s Spirit and Jesus cuts through religious sensibilities and presents himself, flesh and blood, as the way of faith.

Our true life; our true fulfilling, is not what we build but the embodying of God’s Spirit in what we do and say so that all is one. We may search for the splendours of religion but like a sparrow perched in the holy places, God invades our hearts almost irreverently despite the splendour. We are not in control except in our accepting.

Would you go to a system or place; a way of worship or building? Jesus says come to me. Jesus longs to occupy our prayers, our solitude and our generosity. Jesus delights in our steps in grace, but for all our building he will nestle in the most improbable places.

So, when the troubles come, rest in the abiding of Jesus. In the time of plenty invest in the abiding presence of God: be people of prayer, of service and solitude knowing that it is this life we have within that will sustain us. This is the flesh and blood that nurtures us: Jesus.

Something to ponder: how is God named Our Father…


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