Looking for a Sign

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August 5, 2018

John 6:24-35

A very religious man was once caught in rising floodwaters. He climbed onto the roof of his house and trusted God to rescue him. A neighbor came by in a canoe and said, “The waters will soon be above your house. Hop in and we’ll paddle to safety.”

“No thanks” replied the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me”

A short time later the police came by in a boat. “The waters will soon be above your house. Hop in and we’ll take you to safety.”

“No thanks” replied the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me”

A little time later a rescue services helicopter hovered overhead, let down a rope ladder and said. “The waters will soon be above your house. Climb the ladder and we’ll fly you to safety.”

“No thanks” replied the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me”

All this time the floodwaters continued to rise, until soon they reached above the roof and the religious man drowned. When he arrived at heaven he demanded an audience with God. Ushered in to meet with God, he said, “Lord, why am I here in heaven? I prayed for you to save me, I trusted you to save me from that flood.”

“Yes, you did my child” replied the Lord. “And I sent you a canoe, a boat and a helicopter. But you never got in.”

I am sure that many of you have heard this story or variations of it. It is a reminder to us that Jesus calls us to be observant and look around. What we may find ordinary, is the grace of God working in and among us.

We are not the only ones that are looking. The crowd that has been following Jesus is still hungry!

Imagine how you have felt when you have been part of a group and especially listening or keeping an eye on one person. You only take your eyes away for a minute and realize that they have vanished. Jesus and the disciples are the ones that have disappeared, and the crowd sends out their own search party. They may not quite know what they are looking for, but they know that Jesus has it and they want to be able to experience it.

Once they find Jesus, the conversation turns back around to them and their desire for the physical bread that he had given them to eat earlier. The power of this meal seemed to have fell short as they are still asking for some type of sign or proof that Jesus is the Son of God.  If they could just witness a sign, then they would truly know that God was with them.

 Like the crowd, we too want signs that something is going to happen. If we pray hard enough then God will simply show us a sign of what it is we are supposed to do. Surely, it is through a sign that we will be affirmed of that questionable decision that was made.

Do you let yourself get stuck in the rut of constantly looking for God, and wondering where God is at? This then can extend into our questioning if prayer is even effective and so on and so forth. It is like an avalanche of questions that simply cannot be answered by the material. God is in the mystery, which is hard for us to comprehend.

 When we turn away from God, or simply look past what is being offered to us, we fail to acknowledge the grace of God working in our lives. Jesus is the bread of life. It is a bread that fills us for all our days. It is our daily bread that nurtures us and gives us strength. Jesus as the bread of life reveals to us God’s character and through it we are invited into a relationship with God that moves us to be God’s hands and feet in this world.

Through Jesus, we can live into this relationship with God. Our ancestors, before Jesus was born, could only experience this through covenant or law, and now it is directly accessible through Jesus Christ. God wants us to come together in relationship and realize that we are all united as children of God. Jesus, the bread of life, feeds us and nurtures us so that we can live into the very things that challenge us and be strengthened for those times that we fall to our temptations and sin. It is in the body of Christ that we find redemption and are made new.

Let us pray. Good and gracious God, your power to pull us into relationship can only be resisted for so long. May we stop fighting back and embrace your love and compassion that is unbounded and feeds us abundantly. Amen.




By Alex Steward

I am a husband, father, and pastor within the ELCA. I did not grow up in the church and thus come at this pastoring thing with an unique perspective.

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