I think that the same can be said of our God as well, for God too hears the cries of God’s children, and comes to our aid. In fact that is precisely the promise we find in John’s gospel, the promise that when we hunger, and when we thirst; it is the bread from heaven which satisfies our needs. We who have eaten today, may not quite understand the depths of human hunger that a piece of physical bread can satisfy. But we do know what it is like to hunger, to need something. And we most certainly know what it is like to have a God whose love meets us in the midst of that need. For when we find ourselves hungering for peace amidst a racing and tumultuous world, it is God who gives us a moment of rest. And when we hunger for healing amidst illness and disease: it is God who sits with us, and comforts us while we wait. And when we hunger for community and connectedness: it is God who unites us into one connected body, into one community. Fractured, broken, imperfect though we may be à God hears our cries, and God gives us hope. For when we needed forgiveness, God tore open the heavens. When we needed direction, Christ stooped to wash his friend’s feet. And when we needed to know that we were loved beyond all measure, it was a defeated cross and an empty grave that whispered God’s grace and God’s love into our lives.
You know, when my wife and I were preparing for Nathaniel’s baptism a couple of weeks ago, friends from Ontario came to visit. On Monday morning we made our way to Hirtle’s Beach, stopping at a little convenience store in Rose Bay along the way. Now in that store you can find just about anything. From Schnitzel to Sour Candy and everything in between. And this worked out well, for as our friends were searching for something to drink, they happened upon several bottles of Pop Shoppe Pop – a beverage that drew them right back to their childhood. Well they were beyond excited. In fact, the old saying, like kids in a candy store, would have been an understatement. They filled a basket with these cherished beverages, and then even convinced us to buy a couple bottles of Pop Shoppe Pop to try for ourselves. They loved that stuff so much, that they couldn’t imagine passing it by. But what’s more, is that they were willing to go out of their way to make sure that we too got a taste.
I want us to be that excited. Not about a sip of Pop Shoppe Pop…but about a taste of the living bread from heaven. I want us to be so impassioned about the promised hope of Christ that we simply cannot imagine passing it by. And perhaps most of all, I want us to be so enthused for ministry that we will go to the darkest places….the deepest valleys…the highest mountains…and the furthest corners of God’s world – just to make sure that everyone knows the sweet taste of the goodness of God. Because it is in that bread that we will be fed. It is through that cup that we will receive God’s perfect love. And, dear friends, it is by the gifts of God for the people of God, that we will be filled with God’s most abundant hope.