Community and Commitment ~ Rev. Br. Terry Elkington

John 6: 60-69

60 Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”

61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this?

62 Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?

63 It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

64 But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him.

65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

66 After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.

67 Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?”

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life;

69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

We must ask ourselves, do we brush aside or resist the teachings of Jesus?  As Christians we are attracted to Jesus because he offered us God’s loving-kindness and mercy. His wonderful works of healing and deliverance.

However even today, as then, some of us  do not understand or appreciate the claims of Jesus.  He claimed to be the very life of God come down from heaven and that no one could live this life without submitting to him. Even the apostles admitted that this was an expression that it was not just hard to understand, but hard to accept.  Jesus pressed the issue with his beloved disciples because he wanted to test their faith and loyalty.

Jesus assured his disciples that it is his heavenly Father who invites and who gives us deliverance Jesus knew that some would not only reject him and his word, but would do so to the point of betraying him to his enemies.

In today’s community there are people who may initially think that it is heaven on earth. After three or four months, however, they discover that the Community is not perfect, that they may disagree with others, that it’s not particularly glamorous and it can be tiring. The temptation to flee and avoid reality can be great.  The same is true in discerning people for leadership roles. There nearly always seems to be a critical moment when a tough decision needs to be made. Often it is when someone wants a role but is asked to commit for two years, and that seems like an eternity. Or maybe they would ideally like a live out salary, but we are unable to offer one. It is at those moments – when everything seems to hang on a knife edge – that discernment is key: trying to discern what is my deepest desire, which in turn is the desire that God has for us.

It is also true for the Community as a whole. There are nearly always short cuts that we could take – but often at a long term cost. What is really important is the quality of relationship, and the commitment that flows from it.

Our faith seeks understanding.  That is why God gives us the help of the Holy Spirit to enlighten the eyes of our mind to understand his truth and wisdom.. Jesus offers his life-giving word and Spirit to those who believe and who submit to his authority.  Peter’s profession of loyalty was based on a personal relationship with Jesus.  Through the gift of faith Peter knew that Jesus was the Messiah, the Holy One of God, and he believed in his words. Faith is a response to God’s revelation. It’s the key to seeing God work in our lives with power.  Do you believe, as Peter did, that Jesus can change your life because he has the words of everlasting life?  Ask the Lord to increase your faith that you may grow in your relationship with him and in the knowledge of his love for you.

“Lord Jesus, you have the words of everlasting life.   Help me to cast aside doubt and fear and to embrace your word with trust and joy.  I surrender to you fully my heart, my will, my thoughts and my actions.  May there be nothing which keeps me from you and your love.”

Br. Terry Elkington, OPr

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