Sermon - August 22, 2021 - St. Martin's In the Desert

Sermon – August 22, 2021

Thirteen Sunday after Pentecost
Year B
August 22, 2021

First Reading: 1 Kings 8(1,6,10,11) 22,30,41-43
Psalm: 84 
Second Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20
Gospel: John 6:56-69


Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


A few scriptures back (John 6:28-34), the disciples had asked Jesus what they could do to perform the works of God? And Jesus tells them.

 “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent, they said, what sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? All this time, they want to know what work he has been performing? 

“Really” that’s what I say, in verses 19-20 the seas became ruff and he walked on water to save them. He also has fed 5000 people…a multitude of people with five loaves and two fish. And many other miracles.  

Our ancestors ate “Manna” from heaven, he gave them the bread to eat.

Jesus said to them.

 “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him Sir, give us this bread always.”

The Messiah was expected to reproduce the miracle of giving of manna. Again, the depth of Jesus’ meaning is misunderstood.

Today’s Gospel:

The Jews dispute among themselves, So, he tells them in verse 56, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This! Is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”

I am sure a lot of Jews and Jewish leaders walked out on Jesus that day. The story is a little hard… even today to explain to people. 2000 years of many priests and faith leaders teaching us, we later know that Jesus himself is God’s gift of sustenance for time to eternity. 

Jesus “I am, is an expression of divinity and oneness with God…and as we learned before, He is the bread of life” He is the living bread…it is his flesh, Jesus became flesh and offered himself to God in death, thus sacrificing his life for the life of the world. 

We have thousands of years — a very long history of celebrating the Holy Eucharist. We have heard and watched the consecration hundreds of times as the bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ.

We walk to the altar, every Sunday, we take and eat and drink… and we are renewed in Jesus Christ. 

We say in our closing prayer.

“Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted us as living members of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have fed us with spiritual food in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood.”   

The mystery of this still humbles me! We have been given new life in Jesus. 

Because of the incarnation, we receive the body and blood of Christ, 

We now are the new bodies of Christ, 

We now are the flesh and the blood of Jesus, 

We are and can be everything Jesus was, 

We are the incarnation of Jesus, passed down for thousands of years. 

As we approach the altar today…most will say…Amen…. You can also say…” I am”.


The Rev. Lola Culbreath