This week I have had the honoured, but painful task, of officiating at the funeral of a long term close friend. Stewart was in training for ordination with me at St Johns College at Morpeth in 1991/2. He is, perhaps, the longest term “formation” student I know of, having spent years training for ordination in 3 dioceses.
His call to vocation was discerned in parishes across all three – Melbourne, Newcastle and Brisbane – yet he was never ordained. He jumped through hoops but his wavering health was probably the biggest sticking point. Still, he continued in service as a Lay Assistant, EfM mentor and listening ear despite the pain of rejection. WHY? Why, when despite years of hard work and faithful service he was rejected (never by congregations) by those who make these decisions?
I think Grace Wilson was onto something one day when she was heard to say… “I ate Jesus body… It’s delicious!” Her simple words have impacted on me and reverberate through my mind as I consider what it is to be a person of faith in the complexity of life.
Jesus said “I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35) My friend was fed by the bread of life. He found it delicious and sustaining and he continued to eat of this bread till his sudden death last week. His legacy is the “faith, hope and love” of 1 Corinthians 13.
I know I have asked this question before but it is a question which can enable a rethinking of our focus and direction in life… “Have you eaten of the body of Christ? Is it a delicious taste in your mouth.” I pray that this is your experience of our Lord and God, the Bread of Life.