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Focus from the Rev. David F. Sellery, Priest-In-Charge, St. John’s Church, Salisbury, CT The God Particle - John 6:51-58

Musing on the growth of human knowledge, Socrates said: "The more we know, the more we know that we do not know." In recent years, that's been proven over and over… by the mysterious Black Holes and the exploding Nova's of an ever-expanding universe. And now, Socrates is being proven right once again… in studies of the very smallest elements of the universe… we are learning that we have so much more to learn.

For over two millennia, philosophers had theorized that all matter was composed of irreducible building blocks they called atoms. Then in the 20th Century, the irreducible was reduced. The atom was split… and what had languished in scholarly discussion for centuries suddenly became a cosmic source of power.

Einstein explained it all in his Universal Theory of Relativity. But as we now find out, he hadn't quite explained it all. In the 21st Century, we're probing String Theory exceptions to Einstein, new sub-atomic particles called Quarks and an even newer one called Higgs' Boson. Confident once again that they have reached the end of the trail, scientists have dubbed this latest discovery “The God Particle."

If understanding Creation has proven such an endless quest, imagine how much greater the task of understanding the Creator. St. Anselm defines God as: “that of which no greater can be thought.” Everything from the infinitesimally tiny Quark to the outskirts of the cosmos and beyond exists in God and by the will of God. But God does not merely exist. He is existence.

Try hurting your head for a while figuring-out that one. Philosophers, scientists, and theologians have been at it for centuries. But as John tells us in this week's gospel, we can do much better than explain God. We can experience God. We can join in communion with him… assured that: Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.

That's the reason there is Jesus… the Word made flesh. He is the real God Particle… both the message and the medium of God’s love. He is the essential element… both God and Man… the bridge from our limited human perception to the unimaginable essence of God. Through him, the awesome Deity is framed in human, comprehensible terms. This gospel translates the divine love that is Christ into the tangible, consumable substances of bread and wine and uses them as transformative media for us to become one with his flesh and blood.
Throughout his public ministry, we see Jesus reshaping the concept of the tribal God of Israel into the Creator, Savior, and Sanctifier of all. No wonder the home-town folks are stunned. Try taking all that in at a single sitting, especially when it's coming from an itinerant carpenter whose family connections are less than the best.

But Jesus is not here to impress, much less cajole. He is here to love, to show us how to love, to heal us and transform us, to live, to die and to rise again to the Father. He doesn't have the time or the inclination to conduct in-depth theology courses at every turn. He puts himself fearlessly forward; channeling his grace to all who would receive it. His ministry is one of obvious spiritual attraction, not of arcane intellectual argument. His life and death will write the text for others to transcribe.

The Bread of Life: our window onto the will of the Father, our portal to eternal life...all this and more is the sacrificial gift of Jesus, our God, and our Brother. In him, we have found the real God Particle. But there is still so much more to know about the genius that created all and his love that redeems all. In prayer and in scripture, in faith and in love, let's do more than know him. Let’s experience him more and more with every passing day… until the day when all the particles fall into place… and reveal the face of God.
eDevotions from The Rev.Bob Dannals Daily Devotionals - Based on RCL Proper Proper 15, Year B: I Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14; Psalm 111; Ephesians 5:15-20; John 6:51-58

Jesus said, 'I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.' John 6: 51

I don't suppose it dawned on anyone that he meant these words quite literally. He was prepared to and eventually would give his life for the world. Jesus is saying (and doing) something very important for his hearers: he is providing the ultimate value of love – that one would give his or her whole self for the sake of another. To communicate this truth he uses the most nourishing metaphor of all – bread.

Challenge and Opportunity:

I wonder if you and I can internalize what this passage is saying to each of us ... that Christ didn't just give his life for the world in a generic sense, but gave his life for YOU and ME with an ultimate self-giving love. This is not a self-loathing text. It is an exciting, hopeful word to each of us. And what is our response? It is to love others with the same measure and quality of love with which he loves us. Well, that's a tall order! But if we receive and give this incrementally each day it is a doable trait. Consider this: who today needs you, needs me to give them some part of ourselves that is for them a blessing from God? Because the truth is that we are blessed to be a blessing.
Clergy Confidential: Finding God in Daily Chaos by Tim Schenck Endless Summer (Church)

Everyone knows the night before he died, Jesus turned to Peter, James, and John in the Garden of Gethsemane and asked plaintively, "Can you not sweat with me one hour?" This poignant moment in the Passion narrative foreshadows the one hour that future Christians would spend in un-airconditioned churches during the summer months.

Some might complain about summer church -- or not even show up at all. But summer church also offers a plethora of opportunities and joys. Here are just a few:

1. Hot Yoga. All that standing and kneeling in sweat drenched pews? People pay good money for this! Bonus: you'll sweat off 10-pounds and receive salvation.

2. Side Bets. Keep yourself entertained, and potentially enriched, by wagering with your pew mates on whether or not the clergy will sweat through their vestments by the time The Peace rolls around.

3. Beautiful Skin. Overheated churches are basically spa treatments, when you get right down to it. Forget the sauna. Just show up for the 10:00 am service (pro-tip: it's much hotter than the 8 o'clock).

4. Hits from the '80s. As you watch the wax candles droop on the altar, you'll feel totally empowered to speak to the organist and request Modern English's "I'll stop the world and melt with you" as the sequence hymn instead of that old warhorse "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken."

5. Shroud of Turin(ish). During the sermon, the preacher will inevitably wipe his or her face with a
handkerchief. Grab it after the service and if there's an image of the preacher's face, voila! Instant cottage industry.

6. Easy Money. When the crucifer's sweaty hands cause her to lose her grip on the processional cross and it comes crashing down on your head causing you bodily injury and emotional distress, sue the church! Most parishes have a shady lawyer in the pews. Grab him during coffee hour and put him on retainer.

I hope this brief foray into the belly of the summer church beast helps open your eyes to the incredible possibilities of sweating through another August service.
Yet Michael Curry understands better than anyone that while celebrity is fleeting, the power of love endures. The question is, will we embrace this love, share it with one another, and allow ourselves and our world to be transformed? Or will we simply chase after the next shiny object and be swept up in the succeeding news cycle? If you were among the two billion people who watched the Royal Wedding, you have a choice to make.

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