Ordinary Time (Proper 13)
Exodus 16:2–4, 9–15; Psalm 78:23–29; Ephesians 4:1–16; 3 Nephi 5:47–49; Doctrine and Covenants 165:3a
Experience Congregations in Mission
Sharing of Joys and Concerns
“I Will Sing, I Will Sing” CCS 112
OR “O Lord, Grace Our Communion” CCS80
OR “For Such a Time” CCS 376
Call to Worship
Ask the congregation to participate in Popcorn Praise. The presider says, “I see God in _________” and people shout out one or two words that indicate where they see God. Or, have congregants turn to another person and share where they each see God in this world and their lives.
“Great and Marvelous Are Thy Works” CCS 118
OR “God of the Sparrow” CCS 138
“Spirit Fill Us” CCS 160
OR “O Lord, Hear My Prayer” CCS 192
Pursue Peace on Earth
Prayer for Peace
Light the peace candle.
Hymn of Peace
“Restless Weaver” CCS 145
OR “Let Our Earth Be Peaceful” CCS 371
God of Oneness, God of Unity, God of Peace,
Our world is divided, we have aligned for and against one another, we have built walls around ourselves, and dug trenches to separate us from others—to separate us from peace. We have been unsuccessful in seeing others as part of you. We have forgotten your commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Help us build bridges of peace, tear down walls of injustice, and join together to bring peace to our planet. Help us to be one again—your people, your hands and feet, here on Earth. In the name of Christ, who makes us one, we pray. Amen.
For more ideas: The Daily Prayer for Peace services offered at the Temple in Independence, Missouri, can be found on the church’s website as Calendar Events at www.CofChrist.org/daily-prayer-for-peace.
Disciples’ Generous Response
A disciple’s generous response is a whole-life commitment we choose to make in response to God’s wonderful generosity. …We commit to discipleship that includes all that we are and all that we have. Whether we are considering our stewardship of resources for the first time or are recommitting to a time-honored practice in our ongoing discipleship, God will bless our response and guide us in becoming generous disciples.
—Becoming a Generous Disciple: Six Principles to Live By (The Presiding Bishopric 2004), (www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response).
The first Sunday of the month focuses on Abolish Poverty, End Suffering which includes Oblation and World Hunger ministry.
As you share financially through Mission Tithes, or if you give regularly through eTithing, please use this time to consider your commitment and how you will tithe to your true capacity of time, talent, and testimony.
Blessing and Receiving of Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes
For additional ideas, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response-tools.
“As the Deer” CCS 148
OR “Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart” CCS 48
OR “In These Moments We Remember” CCS 515
Congregational Confession Reading
Left Side: We stand before God who loves us and knows us to be sinful people.
Right Side: We confess our sins and assume responsibility for them.
Left Side: We remember God’s act of saving grace in the gift of Jesus Christ to our world.
Right Side: God’s grace gives us the confidence to face each day and hope for eternal life.
All: Let us feast together as forgiven sinners in God’s grace.
Develop Disciples to Serve
Read the book, My Spring Robin, by Anne Rockwell (Aladdin, reissue ed., 2017, ISBN 9781481411387). In this story, a child sees signs of spring, but can’t believe it is spring unless she hears a robin. In today’s scripture, people spent considerable time looking for Jesus, but like the little girl, they too were still focused on a sign from him.
- What signs did the girl see that should have told her spring had arrived?
- Did she get the special sign that she was looking for?
- If the little girl had been present in the moment, would it have made a difference?
OR Briefly paraphrase the story from John 6:24–35. Be sure to include verse 25, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.” The people spent a lot of time looking for Jesus, but were too focused on a sign from him to recognize him as “the bread of life.”
- Why did the people following Jesus ask for a special sign?
- What did Jesus mean when he said he was the bread of life?
- If the people following Jesus had been present in the moment, would it have made a difference?
Ministry of Music or Congregational Song
“Bread of the World” CCS 527
OR “Coming Together for Wine and for Bread” CCS 516
Based on John 6:24–35
Invite People to Christ
Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
Hymn of Preparation
“Eat This Bread” (sing three times) CCS 528
“In the Singing” CCS 519
“I Come with Joy, a Child of God” CCS 533
Blessed are you, if you shall believe in me, and be baptized, after that you have seen me, and know that I am.
And again, more blessed are they who shall believe in your words, because you shall testify that you have seen me, and that you know that I am.
Blessed are they who shall believe in your words, and come down into the depths of humility, and be baptized; for they shall be visited with the Holy Spirit, and shall receive a remission of their sins.
—3 Nephi 5:47–49, adapted
Blessing and Serving of the Bread
Blessing and Serving of the Wine
“Take My Life and Let It Be” CCS 608
OR “O God in Heaven, We Believe” CCS 493
Doctrine and Covenants 165:3a
Ordinary Time (Proper 13)
Exploring the Scripture
It is human nature to draw from past stories or experiences in our effort to make sense of something happening in the present. In many ways, this is what takes place for those who travel to find Jesus at Capernaum after feeding the 5,000 as recorded in the Gospel of John.
The people want more of what they experienced with Jesus. But Jesus knows they are not following him for the right reason. So, he confronts them because he is not willing to be just a miracle-producing gift from God. His purpose is greater, deeper, and life-enduring.
Our faith journey often is filled with tension. Tension exists, at times, between our limited human understanding and the Holy Spirit’s effort to help us see the deeper expression of God’s gift to the world in the life and ministry of Jesus.
The conversation between Jesus and the people eventually comes to the point where the people pressure Jesus to provide a sign to prove his claim. They remind Jesus that God offered their ancestors, through Moses, a sign by providing bread from heaven for the people to eat while in the wilderness.
In this moment of challenge, Jesus draws the people to a deeper awareness that God offers more than bread for the stomach. The true bread that God yearns to give is sent to bring eternal life to the world.
When Jesus declares to the people, “I am the bread of life,” the Greek “I am” is an unequivocal declaration of whom Jesus is in God. In this definitive statement resides the divine nature and oneness that Jesus shares with God. It is this oneness with God that makes possible the full life Jesus offers in his life, death, and resurrection.
When Jesus offers himself as the bread of life, it is an expression of the intimate relationship Jesus wishes to have with all. When we claim that connection with Christ, we awaken to the reality that we already are living eternally in God’s grace, generosity, and deep love. Then,
through our lives, we become the incarnation— the living, tangible expression—of the full life Christ offers all.
The One who comes as the “Bread of Life” does so because of the sacredness of each life. The Enduring Principle of Sacredness of Creation, when lived daily, awakens us to how God sees us. Even more, it makes us aware of how God cherishes the life of all around us.
Do we need another sign to prove that God cares? The one who came as the bread of life continues to come. Christ is among us, ready to offer that which fills us with love, joy, hope, and peace.
- The gift that God offers us in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ is a rich and expressive life that comes from God’s intense love and peace.
- Jesus declares he is the bread of life, hoping we will understand our call to be living, tangible expressions of what he offers.
- In our human nature, we at times do not fully grasp what Christ is doing among us. But the love Christ has for all is always an invitation to a new understanding and way of being in the world that brings spiritual nourishment.
Questions to Consider
- How has Christ, as the bread of life, brought deeper meaning and purpose to your life and ministry?
- When have you witnessed the love and ministry of Christ affecting the life of another?
- How do you see the Holy Spirit trying to move the congregation to a deeper connection with Christ and a more focused sense of call to live Christ’s mission?
- How are the bread of life and the Enduring Principle of Sacredness of Creation connected?
- What convinces you that God cares?
Small-group Worship Suggestions
John 6:24–35 NRSV
The Facilitator Notes provide an overview of Sacred Space and how to use the resource to best meet ministry needs. This is a must read for first-time users.
The weekly outline and handouts provide everything needed to plan and facilitate a scripture-focused Sacred Space gathering and includes additional options such as Thoughts for Children.
Prayer for Peace
Ring a bell or chime three times slowly.
Light the peace candle.
God of oneness, God of unity, God of peace,
Our world is divided. We have aligned for and against one another. We have built walls around ourselves and dug trenches to separate us from others—to separate us from peace. We have been unsuccessful in seeing others as part of you. We have forgotten your commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Help us build bridges of peace, tear down walls of injustice, and join to bring peace to our planet. Help us to be one again—your people, your hands and feet, here on Earth. In the name of Christ, who makes us one, we pray. Amen.
Prayer of Examen
The prayer of examen is a prayer form developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556).
It is often a prayer for the end of the day but may be used any time to review the day with God. The intent is to recognize where we need forgiveness, healing, reconciliation, and recommitment. The following is an adapted prayer of examen.
Lead the group through the prayer line by line. Take your time, inviting them to pray and meditate with each statement.
Thank you God for the gifts of life and this day.
Allow us to see the day as we have lived it and in light of your will.
Let us reflect on the events, interactions, and emotions of the day.
Give us insight into the ways our responses were good, life-giving, or healing.
Give us insight into the ways our responses may have been insensitive, unloving, or damaging to others, creation, or self.
May we find in your grace and mercy, forgiveness, healing, reconciliation, and release.
God, we give our tomorrow to you. May you be present in our thoughts, actions, and relationships as we move on to live a new day in the presence of Christ.
Invite people to share their thoughts and feelings as they experienced the prayer of examen.
Sharing Around the Table
John 6:24–35 NRSV
So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
When they found him on the other side of the sea, 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.”
It is human nature to draw from past stories or experiences in our effort to make sense of something in the present. In many ways, this takes place for those who travel to find Jesus at Capernaum after he fed the 5,000 as recorded in the Gospel of John.
The people have heard of Jesus’ miracles. Many were present when the thousands were fed with just a few fish and pieces of bread. They want more miracles that bring immediate blessings. Jesus challenges them to seek instead that which comes from God and brings eternal blessing.
They come to the point where they pressure Jesus to provide a sign to assure them Jesus has the authority to offer this eternal blessing. They remind Jesus that God offered their ancestors, through Moses, a sign by providing bread from heaven for the people to eat while in the wilderness.
Jesus explains that God offers more than bread to satisfy their earthly hunger. The true bread that God yearns to give is to bring eternal life (abundance, wholeness, oneness with God) to the world.
When Jesus declares to the people, “I am the bread of life,” it is a bold declaration of the divine nature and oneness Jesus shares with God. It is this oneness with God that makes possible the full life Jesus offers.
This offering expresses the intimate relationship that comes when we awaken to the reality that we already are living eternally in God’s grace, generosity, and deep love. Then, as we follow the ministry and message of Jesus in our daily lives, we become the living, tangible expression of Christ in the world.
The one who came as the bread of life continues to come. Christ is among us, ready to offer that which fills us with love, joy, hope, and peace.
- Have you had times when you wanted a sign to prove that God cares?
- In our human nature, we at times do not fully grasp what Christ is doing among us. Has there been a time when you were surprised by the presence of Jesus in your life, family, or community?
- How do you see the Holy Spirit moving you toward to a deeper connection with Christ?
“Sharing for the common good is the spirit of Zion” (Doctrine and Covenants 165:2f).
We receive God’s grace and generosity. The offering basket is available if you would like to support ongoing small-group ministries as part of your generous response.
This offering prayer is adapted from A Disciple’s Generous Response:
Generous God, Be with each of us as we manage our time, treasure, talent, and witness. May we use all our resources in ways that express our desire to bring blessings of healing and peace into the world. May we focus our giving on your purposes, and may our hearts be aligned with your heart. Amen.
Invitation to Next Meeting
CCS 528, “Eat This Bread”