The Rev. Canon Jan Naylor Cope
Today’s Gospel: John 6:60-71
One of my favorite forms of group Bible study is known as the African Bible Study Method. Although it is designed for a group prayer, meditation, reflection and sharing, the basic method can be done by individuals. Using this method, one reads the scripture passage slowly aloud and “listens” for a word or phrase that catches their attention. The passage is read a second time (perhaps using a different translation of the Bible) and one “listens” for where the passage touches their life today. The passage is read a third time and one writes answers to these questions: What do I believe God wants me to do or be? Is God inviting me to change in any way? I have participated in Bible study using this method with a group as well as on my own. It can be incredibly illuminating and powerful!
Today’s passage from the sixth chapter of John lends itself well to this careful reading and reflection. What phrase catches your attention? Where is God leading you or inviting you to change?
The phrase that haunts me is, “Do you also wish to go away?“ Jesus’ followers began to leave him when his teaching, his journey, became too challenging. He then turned to his core, his closest twelve disciples and asked them if they also wished to go away. Even when he asked the question, Jesus knew that one of them would betray him.
This phrase haunts me because I know there are times when Jesus’ call seemed too hard, too dangerous, too… fill in the blank, for me. What gives me hope to continue to try to follow our Lord Jesus is that he never gave up on the disciples, even knowing they would fail him. Jesus will not give up on you or me either. As our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is fond of saying,“God’s not done with us yet!” And for that we can all say, thanks be to God!
O Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scripture to be written for learning. Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that we may embrace and hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. (BCP)