Season of Joy
Today's Season of Joy reflection on John 6:22-29 is by Susan Carson.
Susan is a writer, speaker, spiritual director and Founder of Roots & Branches Network, a ministry creating safe space for transformational encounters with Jesus through listening prayer. Susan is author of rooted (IN): Thriving in Connection with God, Yourself, and Others, and host of the rooted (IN).ten.tionally podcast. Find out more at susancarson.net.
Encounter the God Who Heals
John 6:22-29 (excerpt)
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
“Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered them and said,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me
not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
To read the full scripture passage, please visit: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/
Madam Guyon, a French mystic of the 17th Century, was known in her time—and remains known—for her writings on prayer. Late in life, when she fell ill, she prayed, asking the God she’d experienced so intimately to heal her.
No healing came.
Having prayed for some time and experiencing no healing, she changed her prayer. Rather than asking for healing, she asked for an encounter with the God who heals. Rather than asking for God’s provision, she asked for God, for God’s presence.
This, it seems to me, is a prayer always answered.
Madam Guyon’s experience changed the way I sometimes pray for others and for myself. When I went through treatment for breast cancer, I made this my prayer, asking for an encounter through cancer with the God who heals.
This is a prayer of trust, of deep belief IN God, in his goodness and character, apart from what I might see or receive in the physical. And I think this may be what Jesus is inviting us to in our scripture today.
Let’s set the stage. Jesus has just miraculously provided bread for thousands.
Can you imagine: Sitting in that huge crowd and seeing everyone fed? Receiving that bread into your hand and eating it?
They were hungry; they’d witnessed a miracle, and they'd been fed real food.
Overnight, Jesus walks the sea to the other side. Now, the next day, the crowd finds Jesus gone and they go looking for him. It's at this point we join Jesus in our scripture today.
As he says, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
What is Jesus after here?
The crowd followed Jesus for bread, missing the One who was and is the Bread of Life, standing right before them. The bread they sought was temporary. It satisfied the body, but not the soul.
They were focused on physical bread. Jesus was focused on eternal life. They were missing the point, and I miss the point all the time.
What nourishes our souls?
Jesus is the Bread of Life, the one who satisfies. He alone sustains us.
Christ says, 'I am the real bread. I am life. Believe in me. Find your life in me. Live your life in me.'
John tells us this is the one who is love. It is this love that nourishes us and saves us. He is our Passover—our bread and wine—our communion meal; the food for our soul.
The bread is not the point. It is merely a sign pointing to Christ, the bread of our salvation. The crowd asks about works. Jesus says there is but one great work to do.
To Believe. To have faith in him. To entrust ourselves to him.
He’s not seeking an intellectual assent, but the active giving of ourselves in faith.
How are you being invited to believe, to trust in him again today?
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