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Worship, Prayer and Bible resources

Ordinary 18 - Year B Transfiguration

Liturgical Colour - Green


Introduction

Jesus seems to be making a very simplistic statement in the reading today,

'he who comes to me shall not hunger and he who believes in me shall not thirst.'

What about the millions of people who have no water, or adequate food? Clearly Jesus cannot be speaking about physical food and water. The answer appears that Jesus is asserting himself as the spiritual answer to the hunger and thirst of the human spirit. It might seem as if there are just too many problems to deal with all at once, in truth we all live very complex and over indulgent lives. What is really important in our daily living? What are our basic needs when all of the frivolous stuff is removed? The Lord's Prayer is helpful, Jesus encourages his disciples to pray for daily bread, not cars or homes or even the bread for tomorrow, just bread enough for today. If we can reassess our lives and get our priorities right, then we will never hunger or thirst again.

Opening Verses of Scripture  Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
 

Collect Prayer for the Day

Let your merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of your humble servants; and that they may obtain their petitions make them to ask such things as shall please you; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. CW

Lord of heaven and earth, as Jesus taught his disciples to be persistent in prayer, give us patience and courage never to lose hope, but always to bring our prayers before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. CW

First Bible Reading Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15

The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’

Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not.

Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, “Draw near to the LORD, for he has heard your complaining.”’ And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked towards the wilderness, and the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. The LORD spoke to Moses and said, ‘I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, “At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.”’

In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.’ NRSV

Second Reading Ephesians 4:1-16

I, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said, ‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.’(When it says, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love. NRSV


I am the bread of lifeGospel Reading John 6:24-35

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were at the place where Jesus had given the bread, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”’ Then 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.’

Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’ NRSV

 

Post Communion Sentence

God of our pilgrimage, you have willed that the gate of mercy should stand open for those who trust in you: look upon us with your favour that we who follow the path of your will may never wander from the way of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. CW

Commentary

‘I am the bread of life.’

Our Gospel readings at the moment are from John chapter 6. After Jesus feeds the 5,000, he gives what is, in fact, a sermon based on it in which he explains who he is and what believing in him means. What he says is based on one of the ‘I AM’ sayings for which the Gospel of John is famous: ‘I am the bread of life’. (John 6:35)

There are 7 'I AM something' sayings in St John's Gospel. There are also 7 absolute 'I AM' sayings such as John 8:24: 'Unless you believe that I AM you will die in your sins.' The various translations smooth out the bluntness of some of these sayings - often losing their force in the process.

Greek-speaking Jews or Gentiles who knew their Old Testaments in Greek would have got the significance of these sayings very quickly. In Greek, the phrase is ‘ego eimi’.

In Exodus 3:13-14, Moses asks God what name he should use if the people of Israel ask him the name of the One who sent him. In English, the normal translation of God's reply is that God tells him to say, ‘I AM WHO I AM’. In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, the phrase begins, ‘Ego eimi ...’

‘Ego eimi’ is used elsewhere in the Greek Old Testament as a translation of what God says of himself. For example, in Deuteronomy 32:39 where God says, ‘Behold, behold, I AM (ego eimi) and there is no God apart from me.’ It is used repeatedly in Isaiah (see Isaiah 41:4, 43:10. 45:18, 46:4). St John himself has no doubt as to what Jesus is claiming for himself. He has already spelt it out in the previous chapter:

‘For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he was not only breaking the Sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God. (John 5:18)

In the I AM sayings, then, Jesus is revealing himself to his disciples. As ís often the case, however, they don't always like what they hear and see.

In the beginning of John 6, we read a description of an outstanding miracle performed by Jesus: the feeding of the 5,000. Naturally enough, the crowd are seriously impressed by this and want to make him King there on the spot and Jesus has to give them the slip. They eventually catch up with him in the synagogue in Capernaum. Jesus realizes that they are interested in him primarily because he has fed them physically. He challenges them, therefore, to work instead for the bread which never perishes, the bread that comes down from heaven. They ask him to give them this bread. Jesus replies that he is that bread.

The crowd have a real problem with this, not because they don't understand what Jesus is saying, but because they can't see how someone they know so well could be such a person.

Things get even more complicated when Jesus expands on the metaphor and tells both the crowd and his disciples that they have to ‘eat him’ and drink his blood. The crowd now just don't understand. The disciples, however, do seem to understand and simply don't like it. St John tells us that they found it a hard saying and were offended by it. As a result, many stopped being his disciple.

The crowd's reaction is understandable. They were interested in Jesus for what they could get out of him. Their concern was with the here and now and with getting free food to satisfy their physical hunger. All of which was perfectly understandable, but was just not what Jesus was offering.

Many people today come to Church for similar reasons, believing that coming to Church can help them with their life in this world, but without ever really going beyond this and never really understanding the Gospel message.

But what about the disciples’ reaction? They had, after all, already made a considerable commitment to Jesus. What was it about what he said here that so upset them? Why was it hard and offensive? As most of the commentators note, the idea of drinking blood would have been offensive to most Jews so Jesus' use of this expression would itself have been somewhat offensive. However, surely this isn't enough to make them give up entirely?

Jesus has spoken of giving his flesh for the life of the world. The imagery is that of death and sacrifice. The disciples realized this and found it hard. The crowd turned from Jesus because they didn't understand Jesus' words; the disciples turned from Jesus because they did! As St Augustine said, the disciples found Jesus’ words hard, but it wasn't Jesus’ words that were hard, it was the disciples themselves!

Which brings us to some words of Jesus that many today find hard. Jesus throughout this passage talks of those the Father has given him. He says explicitly that no-one can come to him unless the Father who sent him draws them (John 6:44). This is language that offends us just as the language of death and sacrifice offended the first disciples. We dislike any suggestion that our fate is not in our own hands and that we are not free to make our own decisions. St John suggests otherwise. As our Lord puts it:

‘This is why I told you that no-one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.’ (John 6:65)

As we listen to or Lord’s words in the reading, let us pray that God will remove our hardness and draw us to himself.

Ross Royden


 

Meditation

The ruin of a nation begins in the homes of its people. ---African Proverb

 

Hymns

  1. The trumpets sound
  2. To him we come
  3. Guide me O thou (Cwm Rhonda) 
  4. We rest on thee (Finlandia)
  5. What shall our greeting be (Tune Moscow)
  6. Guide me O (Tune Cwm Rhondda)
  7. Jesus the Lord said I am the bread
  8. Glorious things of thee are spoken
  9. Moses I know you're the man
  10. I will sing the wondrous story
  11. Come with the sound of trumpet (Words Jocelyn Marshall, Tune Morning Light)
  12. Glory in the highest (Words Christopher Idle, Tune Land of Hope and Glory
  13. Dear Lord and Father of mankind (Repton)
  14. The trumpets sound
  15. To him we come
  16. Come, praise the name of Jesus; (Tune Morning Light) See below for words
  17. Holy Christ, in light transfigured, (Tune Ode to Joy) See below for words

 

Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

Prayer encouragement in the Christian life

Prayer is a plant, the seed of which is sown in the heart of every Christian,
if it is well cultivated and nourished it will produce fruit, but if it is neglected, it will wither and die

 

While there is breath within me let me give thanks that there is a God to worship. Let me praise the Christ who loves the worst of us. Let me bless the Christ who shares with the least of us. Let me bless the Christ who intercedes for all of us in the presence of the one true, boundless and living God, for ever and ever. Amen Ann Griffiths, 1776-1805

Lord, save us while we are awake; protect us while we sleep; and Christ, with whom we keep our watch, will guard our souls in peace.

God of our life, we confess in company with one another and before you, that we are wayward and less than faithful sergeants. We have loved things and used people; remembered slights and forgotten kindnesses; called on you in trouble and ignored you at other times; praised you in word and failed you in deed; allowed the present age to mould us and left untapped the power of the age to come. Deal with us after your mercy for we are sorry for our sins and earnestly seek your forgiveness. Through Christ our Lord.

From the cowardice that shrinks from new truth, from the laziness that is content with half-truths, from the arrogance which thinks it knows all truth, O God of Truth deliver us. Amen.

In living and in dying, O Lord, I would be yours alone. Keep me as your own for ever and draw me daily nearer to your sacred heart. Fill me each day with your most holy love until, by your grace, I behold with your saints the unclouded vision of your face in glory; through Christ our Lord. Amen Edward Bouverie Pusey, 1800-1882

Into your hands, Lord, we commit our spirit, into your hands, the open and defenceless hands of love, into your hands, the accepting and welcoming hands of love, into your hands, the firm and reliable hands of love, we commit our spirit. Rex Chapman, Canon of Carlisle Cathedral (b.1938),

Let us pray -- Gracious God, we praise your Name and we thank you for your bountiful and generous love. We call upon you this day and ask that you would help us seek the blessings which endure unto eternal life. Help us open our hearts to your inward presence, our minds to the messages that your write upon the passing hours and days, and our soul's to the refreshing winds of your Spirit. Feed us with the bread of heaven and grant that our prayer and our praise might be acceptable unto you -- and that our words and our actions might glorify you, both now and forevermore. Amen


Additional Material

Commentary

 

Last week Jesus multiplied the bread and fish for the vast crowd. After he performed the multiplication, Jesus realized that the people wanted to make him king, so he slipped off by himself. The crowd chased after him and, as we hear today, they found him on the other side of the lake, at Capernaum. It is typical in John’s Gospel that after Jesus performs a miracle he enters into a dialogue, either with some Pharisees, or as we see today, with the crowds. This is John’s way to draw out the deeper meaning of the "sign" Jesus has performed and its meaning for the Christian community for whom John was writing his gospel.

It is hard for us to understand many of the passages in the Bible which speak about the need for food. Eating is not so important for us anymore, we really do not have to work too hard to have enough to eat, indeed for most of us the danger is eating too much and making ourselves physically unwell by being overweight and straining our bodies. Clearly we would not rush off across a lake in search of somebody who was giving away free bread. In the times of Jesus of course things were different, you never counted calories, you were very fortunate if you were able to have regular food.

After Jesus fed the 5000, the crowd woke to find that he and his disciples had crossed the lake to Capernaum. They did not want to be separated from somebody who had found a way to conjure up food out of thin air and so they set off in boats to try to find Jesus. When they find Jesus on the other side of the lake they ask him when he arrived. Jesus has no time for their small talk and tells them that their reason for being there is purely and simply that they are after another free lunch. Jesus tells them that they haven’t even come because they have recognised that a miracle had taken place. He recognizes that what they are after is a meal ticket. This is significant, for one thing we now know is that the feeding of the 5,000 was not just a wonderful lesson in sharing your lunch! From the response of this crowd it is obvious that Jesus has, as if by magic, made real food and in sufficient quantity that the people were prepared to sail off after him for more.
The response of the crowd shows something that can happen with us in our own walk with God when we think, "What can you do for me?" Twelfth century mystic Meister Eckhardt warned that "Some people want to see God with their eyes as they see a cow, and to love him as they love their cow. They love their cow for the milk and cheese and profit it makes them. This is how it is with people who love God for their own sake of outward wealth and inward comfort.”

Jesus saw the hunger of the crowds and fed them. Certainly he would want us to address the physical hungers of those in our community. But Jesus is not just interested in the body, he is concerned for the soul. Jesus tries to use this wrong motive, their appetite for bread and direct their thoughts instead into a hunger for the imperishable food of eternal life. The bread which Jesus offers is about knowing God at work in human lives. While Jesus addresses people’s physical hungers, he also challenges them not to search for physical food alone – for they will be hungry again. Besides physical appetites, we also have spiritual and emotional hungers.

His first effort to get this stubborn crowd to think with their heads instead of their stomachs is a failure. Despite the fact that a scant twenty-four hours has passed since Jesus miraculously fed the whole lot of them with a handful of loaves and fishes, they demand that he give them another sign. Once again people never change and no matter how many times God works miracles around us we always want just one more sign. Isn’t that true just as much of people today as ever it was?

We can all be guilty of using God the way a drunk uses a lamp post, not for the light but to lean against. Are we praying to God today because we believe he can get us out of a specific difficulty or a misfortune that has befallen us, or because we want something really badly?
There is certainly nothing wrong with praying when we are in need. But Jesus has even more to give us, for isn’t our greatest hunger the one we have for God?

God is not some Cosmic Crutch propping us up, making our life easier, lending us a hand when we need it. Neither is God a divine "Mr. Fix-it," waiting around idly until we need someone to extricate us from some crisis we have created in our lives. Those who see God as such a "Fix-it" often have a prayer-life that resembles dialing 999. God is not an emergency service to help us pay those bills, make us well again or help us pass a driving test. The crowd wants tangible, especially edible, gifts such as God provided in the past in the time of Moses. Instead Jesus tells them that what matters is purely and simply their faith in him.

So how can we challenge our own motives? Do we love God and seek to follow Christ? Or are we just seeking our own spiritual or even physical comfort? It might be interesting to ask ourselves the following questions - How often do I think in terms of what God can do for me instead of reflecting on what God has already done for me? Is our love for God a selfish love? Perhaps that is too hard a question to answer? This is a helpful quotation from Teresa of Avila which might help us test our motives "We cannot know whether we love God, although there may be strong reason for thinking so, but there can be no doubt about whether we love our neighbour or not."

Living the life of Jesus in the world is hard. We can get discouraged, want to give up, or even lose our way. Sometimes the world of death seems to be triumphing over the life God wants to give us. The front page of any newspaper is enough to discourage us. The gospel today reminds us however, we are not making our journey alone. We travel with one another, sustained by the bread of life given us by a gracious love of God.

 

I AM
If belief in God meant that we all got better houses, nicer jobs, pleasant children and fat salaries, then we would have full churches every Sunday. Jesus knew this and tried to encourage those who listened to him to look beyond the meeting of their physical needs. Jesus brought spiritual gifts and he tried to enable people to lift their eyes, raise their sights, and to see beyond the physical realm. He asked people to join him on a spiritual journey:
"Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you" (v. 27).
Jesus is not saying that physical needs are unimportant, indeed he spoke of food, drink, and clothing, assuring his listeners that "your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things," (Matt. 6:32-33). Much of his earthly ministry focused on healing people's physical ills. But now he calls the crowd to acknowledge their need for "food that endures for eternal life," promising that he will give them that food.

Jesus directs the crowd away from the law and toward himself, thereby providing an achievable alternative to the task of law-keeping. This was a massive change, for centuries, the Jews observed the Mosaic, God-given law. They were told this was the way to please God and to assure their own salvation. Now this thirty-something-Jesus, the son of a an undistinguished father and an even less distinguished town is suggesting that they abandon their long-held allegiance to the law to stake their lives on him. Perhaps understandably the people want signs. Moses' gift of manna authenticated his status as prophet. If Jesus expects this crowd to accept him as a Moses-like prophet, he must give them a Moses-like sign. They have seen false prophets come and go, and want rock-solid proof that Jesus is not one of them. Jesus has just fed the multitudes with a few loaves and fishes but Moses fed the whole nation every day for forty years. Jesus gave the crowd ordinary bread; Moses gave Israel bread from heaven. The crowd has seen Jesus perform a miracle, but now they raise the bar to demand that he match Moses' miracle.
Perhaps there is a lesson here for us. We, too, see wonderful things happen in our presence every day, but we fail to really see them. Having grown accustomed to them, we take them for granted. As Martin Luther observed, "God's wonderful works which happen daily are lightly esteemed, not because they are of no import but because they happen so constantly and without interruption. Man is used to the miracle that God rules the world and upholds all creation, and because things daily run their appointed course, it seems insignificant, and no man thinks it worth his while to meditate upon it and to regard it as God's wonderful work, and yet it is a greater wonder than that Christ fed five thousand men with five loaves and made wine from water."
Instead of more miracles, Jesus said to them, "I am (Greek: ego eimi) the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. "I am the bread of life." is the first of seven "I AM" (ego eimi) sayings in this Gospel that remind us of the burning bush story. When Moses asked God his name, God replied, "Thus you shall say to the Israelites, 'I AM has sent me to you' " (Exod. 3:14). "I am," of course, can be simple self-identification, but in John's Gospel it clearly means more.

The seven "I AM" sayings are as follows:

  1. I am the bread of life,
  2. The light of the world (8:12)
  3. The gate for the sheep (10:7)
  4. The good shepherd (10:11, 14)
  5. The resurrection and the life (11:20)
  6. The way, and the truth, and the life (14:6)
  7. The true vine (15:1).

The 'I am' sayings form the distinctive core of Jesus' self-revelation in the John’s Gospel. Through these common symbols, Jesus declares that people's religious needs and human longings are met in him.  

Commentary

It is hard for us to understand many of the passages in the Bible which speak about the need for food. Eating is not so important for us anymore, we really do not have to work too hard to have enough to eat, indeed for most of us the danger is eating too much and making ourselves physically unwell by being overweight and straining our bodies. Clearly we would not rush off across a lake in search of somebody who was giving away more bread. In the times of Jesus of course things were different, you never counted calories, you were very fortunate if you were able to have regular food.
After Jesus fed the 5000, the crowd woke to find that he and his disciples had crossed the lake to Capernaum. They did not want to be separated from somebody who had found a way to conjure up food out of thin air and so they set off in boats to try to find Jesus. When they find Jesus on the other side of the lake they ask him when he arrived. Jesus has no time for their small talk and tells them that their reason for being there is purely and simply that they are after another free lunch. Jesus tells them that they haven’t even come because they have recognised that a miracle had taken place. He recognizes that what they are after is a meal ticket. This is significant, for one thing we now know is that the feeding of the 5,000 was not just a wonderful lesson in sharing your lunch! From the response of this crowd it is obvious that Jesus has, as if by magic, made real food and in sufficient quantity that the people were prepared to sail off after him for more.


The response of the crowd shows something that can happen with us in our own walk with God when we think, "What can you do for me?" Twelfth century mystic Meister Eckhardt warned that "Some people want to see God with their eyes as they see a cow, and to love him as they love their cow. They love their cow for the milk and cheese and profit it makes them. This is how it is with people who love God for their own sake of outward wealth and inward comfort.
 

Jesus tries to use this wrong motive, their appetite for bread and direct their thoughts instead into a hunger for the imperishable food of eternal life. His first effort to get this stubborn crowd to think with their heads instead of their stomachs is a failure. Despite the fact that a scant twenty-four hours has passed since Jesus miraculously fed the whole lot of them with a handful of loaves and fishes, they demand that he give them another sign. Once again people never change and no matter how many times God works miracles around us we always want just one more sign. Isn’t that true just as much of people today as ever it was?
 

We can all be guilty of using God the way a drunk uses a lamp post, not for the light but to lean against. But God is not some Cosmic Crutch propping us up, making our life easier, lending us a hand when we need it. Neither is God a divine "Mr. Fix-it," waiting around idly until we need someone to extricate us from some crisis we have created in our lives. Those who see God as such a "Fix-it" often have a prayer-life that resembles dialing 999. God is not an emergency service to help us pay those bills, make us well again or help us pass a driving test. The crowd wants tangible, especially edible, gifts such as God provided in the past in the time of Moses. Instead Jesus tells them that what matters is purely and simply their faith in him.
So how can we challenge our own motives? Do we love God and seek to follow Christ? Or are we just seeking our own spiritual or even physical comfort? It might be interesting to ask ourselves the following questions - How often do I think in terms of what Jesus can do for me instead of reflecting on what Jesus has already done for me? Is our love for Christ a selfish love? Perhaps that is too hard a question to answer. However I leave you with a quotation from Teresa of Avila* which might help us test our motives "We cannot know whether we love God, although there may be strong reason for thinking so, but there can be no doubt about whether we love our neighbour or not." *(The Interior Castle (London: T.Jones, 1852), V, iii, 8)
 

Post Communion

Lord God, whose Son is the true vine and the source of life, ever giving himself that the world may live: may we so receive within ourselves the power of his death and passion that, in his saving cup, we may share his glory and be made perfect in his love; for he is alive and reigns, now and for ever.  Amen.

Meditation

Son of God or madman?
"A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said wouldn't be a great moral teacher. He'd either be a lunatic -- on the level with a man who says he's a poached egg -- or else he'd be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse" (C. S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity).

Son of God or madman? "A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said wouldn't be a great moral teacher. He'd either be a lunatic -- on the level with a man who says he's a poached egg -- or else he'd be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse" (C. S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity).

 

Peace craneA meditation for August 6, the anniversary of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima in 1945
 

Statue of Sadako holding a golden crane at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial War has lasting effects.

The gospel story of the transfiguration is about seeing in a new way. The disciples see Jesus in a new way. They understand the presence of God in an amazing experience. Everything now looks different. In the midst of our complex contemporary world, the gospel invites us to be free enough to see things in a new way. In the midst of war and violence, the gospel invites us to see the presence of God and God’s invitation to peace. In the midst of poverty and injustice, the gospel invites us to hear God's invitation to respect the dignity of every human person and the need for justice and peace for all.

In some way we (as individuals and as a world community) need a "transfiguration experience" to see things in a new way – from the point of view of Christ, from the point of view of the poor and powerless, from the point of view of other cultures. The Transfiguration is a sign of great hope. The disciples discover that it is possible to see the presence of God in Jesus. It is possible to see things in a new way.

Long after the aggression has ceased, negative effects remain. Japan is just one of numerous countries that continue to be plagued by the effects of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The story of Sadako Sasaki provides a starting point for this discussion on the need for peace. Sadako was a baby of two on August 6, 1945, unaware of the war that raged around her. On that day she lost more than her grandmother as an atomic bomb reduced the city of Hiroshima to a desert of destruction and radioactive wasteland. She survived the initial blast with seemingly no ill effects.

Ten years passed and Sadako grew strong and swift. It was as she was practicing for a competition that she crumpled to the track and was taken to the hospital. There her worst fears were confirmed. She had developed leukemia as a result of her exposure to radiation. During her long hospital stays, Sadako began to fold paper cranes. According to Japanese legend, if an individual folds 1000 paper cranes, a wish will be granted. (It was believed that Cranes lived for 1,000 years). With each crane she folded, the wish was the same-to get well. In October of 1955, Sasako folded her last crane-number 644,and she quietly became another of the many casualties of a war that had ended ten years earlier. Her classmates finished the remaining 366 cranes to honour Sadako's memory and to share in her wish that such bombs of destruction would never be used again. The cranes were buried with her.

The children told Sadako's story to the world by sharing the letters they had exchanged during her hospital stay. Shocked by her death, her classmates put out a national call to "build a monument to mourn all the children who died from the atomic bombing." With the support of students in more than 3,100 schools around Japan and in nine other countries, including England, the Society was able to build this bronze statue that stands nine metres high. In 1958, a monument was erected in Hiroshima's Peace Park to honour Sadako and all of the children who died because of the bombs. This monument has become an international symbol of peace. Every year thousands of children visit the memorial bringing chains of folded cranes to lay at the base. Each crane is a prayer for peace-prayers and wishes that number in the millions. On the top of the three-legged pedestal stands the bronze figure of a girl holding up a gold-coloured "folded" crane. On opposite sides of the pedestal are suspended boy and girl figures symbolizing a bright future and hope. On the stone underneath the pedestal is inscribed, 'This is our cry. This is our prayer. For building peace in this world.'

The monument was created by Kazuo Kikuchi, then a professor of Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music.

Helpful links

http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/kids/

How to make a paper crane  Click here

 

For August 6 ' In the face of the man-made calamity that every war is, one must affirm and reaffirm, again and again, that the waging of war is not inevitable or unchangeable. Humanity is not destined to self-destruction. Clashes of ideologies, aspirations and needs can and must be settled and resolved by means other than war and violence.   Pope John Paul II, Appeal for Peace, Hiroshima, Japan.

Prayers for Sunday

 

This is our cry,
This is our prayer,
peace in the world.

Engraved on the peace memorial Hiroshima park

"In the face of the man-made calamity that every war is, one must affirm and reaffirm, again and again, that the waging of war is not inevitable or unchangeable. Humanity is not destined to self-destruction. Clashes of ideologies, aspirations and needs can and must be settled and resolved by means other than war and violence." Pope John Paul II, Appeal for Peace, Hiroshima, Japan.
 

A Prayer for the World

Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory
of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and
fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the sun heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that
we can see each other clearly.
So that we can see beyond labels,
beyond accents, gender or skin colour.
Let the warmth and brightness
of the sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and
feel the sorrows of our neighbours.
And let the light of the sun
be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbours.
Let the earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.
Amen.
---Rabbi Harold S. Kushner
----Social Justice Resources Diocese of Oakland mdoyle@oakdiocese.org

 

Response: God of Peace, lead us on the way of peace

As we remember the atomic bombs dropped on the people of Japan 61 years ago, we pray that these weapons will never be used again.
As we hear of the recent fighting in and around Lebanon and Israel, we pray that the Holy Spirit will lead our world on a new way to peace.
As war continues in Iraq and Afghanistan, we pray for divine help to show us how to build peace.
As we experience the proliferation of weapons of all sorts all over our world, we pray that we can finally use our resources for the good of people and not for destruction.
As we see economic injustice all around us, we pray that the spirit will lead us to do what leads to justice for all.
As we recall the Transfiguration experience, we pray that we will all see in it a new way and allow our new vision to transform our actions into the way of peace and justice for all.

 

Words for Hymns

Come, praise the name of Jesus for all his gracious powers,
our only God and Saviour who makes his goodness ours;
he calls us to his kingdom, the Lord of life and death,
to see his face in glory and know him now by faith.

His virtue and his wisdom, endurance, self control,
his godliness and kindness, his love which crowns them all -
this is his royal nature that we are called to share,
his robe of perfect beauty that we are given to wear.

We see his shining splendour in every sunless place
where Christ, the light of nations, appears in truth and grace.
Transfigured by his likeness we make the vision known,
reflecting in our faces the radiance of his own.

The king of grace inspires us to love him more and more,
to grasp our hope more firmly and make our calling sure.
Christ Jesus, Lord and Saviour, to this dark world you came;
and for the dawn of heaven, we praise your holy name.

Holy Christ, in light transfigured,
shining hope upon the earth,
brighten every place of darkness,
bring the age of truth to birth.
Point us to the great awakening,
when the world in hope shall rise:
fear and exploitation ended,
perfect peace shall be the prize.

Let us share the special vision,
hear the great affirming voice;
in the glorious revelation,
call creation to rejoice.
Through the darkness of oppression,
let the prophets light the way,
pointing to the peace and justice
promised on the final day.

Come, O Christ, in clouds of glory,
set our fervent hopes ablaze!
Offer up the new creation
to the God of ancient days.
From a thousand thousand voices,
songs of praise and joy release,
when the ending of oppression
heralds everlasting peace.

 

 

Hymns for Transfiguration

  1. Rejoice the Lord is king (Tune Gopsal)

  2. Christ triumphant

  3. Come Praise the name of Jesus (Tune Morning Light)

  4. Love divine (Tune Blaenwern)

  5. Holy Christ in light transfigured (Tune Ode to Joy)