(Sunday between July 31 and August 6 inclusive)
In the readings for this Sunday, God feeds the people in the wilderness with manna from heaven (Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15). The psalmist recounts how the Lord rained down manna; the people ate and were filled (Psalm 78:23-29). Paul tells us that there is one body and one Spirit; speak truth and grow in love (Ephesians 4:1-16). In John, Jesus teaches about the bread of heaven, food for eternal life (John 5:24-35).
Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15
2 The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not.
9 Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’” 10 And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 11 The Lord spoke to Moses and said, 12 “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”
13 In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.
23 Yet he commanded the skies above,
and opened the doors of heaven;
24 he rained down on them manna to eat,
and gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Mortals ate of the bread of angels;
he sent them food in abundance.
26 He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens,
and by his power he led out the south wind;
27 he rained flesh upon them like dust,
winged birds like the sand of the seas;
28 he let them fall within their camp,
all around their dwellings.
29 And they ate and were well filled,
for he gave them what they craved.
1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
7 But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it is said,
“When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;
he gave gifts to his people.”
9 (When it says, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) 11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
24 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.
25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 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. 27 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.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 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? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 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. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
35 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.
Call to Worship
Based on Psalm 78:23, 29; John 6:35
Our God commands the skies above,
and opens the doors of heaven.
He provides food to satisfy our deepest cravings.
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."
As we come to you in worship,
may you fill our hungry and thirsty souls.
Prayer of Confession
Based on Exodus 16:2-3; John 6:27, 33, 35
Rescuing God, we confess that we quickly forget
your faithfulness and redemption in our lives.
Like the Israelites we romance our days in bondage
and complain about your lack of provision in our lives.
Though you call us to yourself to fill our deepest hunger and thirst,
we run back to food that does not satisfy.
Bread of life, may we not strive for the food that perishes,
but for food that endures for eternal life
You are the source of life to the world,
help us to rest in you alone.
In Christ's name we pray. Amen.
Assurance of Forgiveness
Based on John 6:33, 35
Hear the good news of the gospel:
Jesus is the bread of life and the source of life to the world.
Those who come to him in faith will never be hungry,
and those who believe in him will never be thirsty.
Song of Response
Affirmation of Faith
Based on Ephesians 4:1-16
We believe we are to lead a life worthy of the calling to which we have been called,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
We believe there is one body and one Spirit,
just as we were called to the one hope of our calling:
one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all,
who is above all and through all and in all.
We believe Christ gave gifts to his people.
We believe the gifts he gave were that some would be
apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers,
to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.
We believe we must no longer be children,
tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine,
by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.
We believe that by speaking the truth in love,
we must grow up in every way into him who is the head,
into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together
by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly,
promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.