Weekly Bible Reflection
Mark's Alternative Economy
Eighth Sunday after Trinity
Text: John 6. 24-35 "Risk Averse "
Begin by using the Bible Study method as outlined
How many days could you and your family survive on the food which is stored in the kitchen cupboards, freezer or garden?
How does this make you feel when you pray the Lord's Prayer, " ... give us this day our daily bread ..."?
A Window on the Text
For most people in our sophisticated society, it is hard to imagine living hand to mouth, not having enough food, or not knowing where the next meal is coming from. Consequently it is hard to understand the peoples' dependence on bread in biblical times and the way in which it becomes a dominant theme in Jesus' teaching.
The first of the Temptations for Jesus is to "tell this stone to become bread" (Luke 4.3) which acknowledges that one sure way to become a popular leader is to make people feel safe and secure and to keep them well fed.
In this passage, Jesus has allowed himself to fall into that trap. The Feeding of the Five Thousand (John 6.1-15) has created an expectation in the minds of those who are following him to hear his teaching, that he will continue to provide bread, just as Moses had for the Israelites wandering in the desert over a thousand years earlier.
So Jesus now has to refocus their minds - away from a proccupation on where the next meal is coming from - and on to "food that endures to eternal life". "What must we do?", they ask. "What miraculous sign then will you give." The miracle of the Feeding has distracted from the miracles of healing and the other signs which Jesus has given of his ministry of 'good works' focussed on the alien, the outcast, the poor and the imprisoned.
Focussing on the needs of others is the route to personal security.
Responding as a community
- Name some of the ways in which you as individuals, and society as a whole, seeks to make itself safe and secure.
- Do they work?
- What are the hidden costs or 'downsides' of seeking that security?
- What does it mean to you as individuals to "work for the food that endures"?
- How might you support and encourage each other to break free the fears and dependencies of this 'risk averse' society?
Say the Lord's Prayer, but instead of saying "give us this day our daily bread", ask to be given the means to work for the 'bread that will last", naming the things which you have discussed earlier.
Pray for each other and for the particular challenges which each one faces.
Say the Grace together
Mark's Alternative Economy - Discussion