Lloyd Menke | Our Saviour’s

By Hillarywebb [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Today we are continuing our look at John 6 and Jesus’ discussion of the Bread of Life. We began with the disciples picking up the fragments of bread as Jesus feeds the 5000. We talked about how Jesus offers himself to us in broken bread for broken people, offering fragments of bread for fragmented people. Then last week we talked about how we aren’t ourselves when we are hungry. We explored how Jesus comes to meet us in our spiritual hunger so that we can be the people God created us to be. I challenged us to see part of that calling as people who are entrusted with being “repairs of the breach.”

Today, the people begin to complain about Jesus, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven?” How can Jesus be the Bread of Life? Jesus is just too ordinary to be special. We know his parents for goodness sakes. Who does he think he is?

There is something about us that finds it difficult to believe that something extraordinary can be found in common, ordinary people.

On June 7, 1926, an old man dressed in shabby clothes and carrying no identification was struck by a passing tram as he walked along the Gran Via, one of Barcelona’s major avenues. Hurt by the injury he lost consciousness. Because of his lack of identity documents and shabby clothing, people assumed he was a beggar so no one rushed to help. Eventually, some passers-by took him in a taxi to the Santa Creu Hospital, where he received limited basic care. By the time that the chaplain of the Sagrada Família recognized him on the following day, Anotoni Gaudí’s condition had deteriorated so severely that further treatment couldn’t help. Gaudí died on June 10, 1926 at the age of 73 and was buried two days later.

If you go to Barcelona, Spain, you can see many famous buildings, designed by Gaudí. He was a world renown, Spanish architect. He is the Frank Lloyd Wright of Spain. Gaudí’s work still enjoys global popularity. He has been nicknamed “God’s Architect,” because of the religious images appearing in many of his works. His masterpiece, the still-incomplete Sagrada Família, is the most-visited monument in Spain.

By C messier [CC BY-SA 4.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

This is a picture of the nave of the church from the inside.

By SBA73 from Sabadell, Catalunya (Tot conflueix / All’s conected) [CC BY-SA 2.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Seven of his works have been declared World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. This is one of them, the Park Güell.

By Bernard Gagnon [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Below is some of Gaudí’s mosaic work on the terrace of the Park Güell.

By en:User:Burn the asylum [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], from Wikimedia Commons

Tragically, people didn’t recognize Gaudí, he didn’t look like a world-renowned architect.

Pau Audouard Deglaire [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

He looked like a beggar.

There is something about us that finds it difficult to believe that something extraordinary can be found in common, ordinary people.

On Saturday, April 11th, 2009 Susan Boyle made an appearance on Britain’s Got Talent. Susan made the news, and made the rounds on Facebook and social media. I am sure many of you saw the video clip of her performance. As of yesterday, the video clip of her appearance has been viewed 230,261,156 times on YouTube alone. It is a video clip one can watch again and again. (If you would like to see the video again you can see it here: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxPZh4AnWyk&t=246s) If you watched the video clip, you can understand why I have sympathy for Susan. In her initial Britain’s Got Talent appearance, she comes across somewhat awkward, unsophisticated, and unpolished. She is 47 years old and unemployed. She stumbles when she talks about where she is from. According to the Washington Post, her initial demeanor and homely appearance caused the judges and audience to be “waiting for her to squawk like a duck.” And then she opens her mouth and sings – bringing down the house.

There is something about us that finds it difficult to believe that something extraordinary can be found in common, ordinary people.

The crowd that gathers stumbles over where Jesus is from. They are put off and they complain. How can an ordinary man like them be the answer to their deepest needs and their secret longings? Those who complain about Jesus know all the ways they fall short. They are all too aware of their faults, their failures, their flaws. They are sick and tired of their inability to overcome their petty grudges, betrayals and broken promises. They long to sleep at night untroubled by fears and doubts. They long to go through the day without being plagued by shame and disappointment. How can Jesus help if he is no different? How can Jesus help if he is a man – if he experiences the same things they do? “Physician heal thyself!”

They grumble because Jesus’ history is no better than theirs. He looks like the poor. He doesn’t come across as sophisticated, polished, or smooth. Like Gaudi or Susan Boyle people had a hard time seeing Jesus for who he was. It is hard to believe that God can be present in the ordinary – in the mess of life. Jesus shows us God not only comes in the picture posted on Facebook, or Instagram, or social media, (the perpetual Christmas letter), but, also meets us in the boring, ordinary, flawed, mistake-ridden life of everyday people. God came down and inhabited flesh and blood. Jesus comes to us again in the bread and wine of communion. And even more surprising, comes to us as the Holy Spirit taking up residence in us – working in and through us. But, we have trouble seeing it, or believing that the Holy Spirit is at work in us. How can God be at work in our faults and failings? How can God be at work in us when we struggle to see the meaning or significance of what we do? How can God be at work when we have trouble just believing we are worth it?

It is precisely because we have trouble believing it that God came as Jesus to show us. This is why Jesus inhabited flesh and blood. It is why he comes to us again and again as the bread that has come down from heaven in ordinary bread and wine. We come again and again to communion because we need to be constantly reminded God is at work in the ordinary. Jesus is at work in us. You are worth it. Even though we have trouble seeing it – God is at work even if we can’t create buildings like Gaudi, or sing like Susan Boyle. You have trouble seeing it? Welcome to the human race – so, get over yourself. And hear again Jesus’ promise to be at work in you.

Amen.