The Ticket of Life (short homily – Dumfries Northwest Church, mid week service, 12 March 2015)

READING:    John 6 verses 51-58

Just over a hundred years ago, a poor family from middle Europe decided to seek a better life abroad.

A couple, with their teenage son and four little daughters decided to emigrate from their poverty-stricken little village to America and all its promise.

A week before their ship sailed, the family’s relatives and friends threw a ‘going away’ party for them, at which gifts were presented – practical things: several loaves of bread and some blocks of cheese.

A week later, the family boarded an Italian ship, sailing to New York.  Since they had never been out of their village, and since few on board spoke their language, they didn’t mix with the other passengers or crew, preferring their own company.

They had been assigned a third-class cabin below deck, and that’s where they decided to remain for the duration of the voyage, especially since the weather was so wintry.

And it was there that they ate their bread and cheese – sparingly – to make it last the entire journey.

On the last day of their voyage, the weather cleared up a bit, and the teenage son asked his father for permission to go above and explore the ship.

When the lad didn’t return within the hour, his father went to look for him, and eventually found him in a big dining room, sitting at a table, eating from a plate overflowing with meat and vegetables.

The father’s heart skipped several beats.  How were they going to pay for all this food that his son had ordered and was now devouring?

He had visions of spending his first months in America in prison, or even being refused entry into the country altogether.

When the boy saw how frightened his father looked, he said, ‘Don’t worry, Papa, it’s free!’

And he went on to explain that while the family had been eking out their meagre rations of bread and cheese below decks, all the other passengers had been feasting on meals like the one he was now enjoying.

Such feasts were included in the price of the ticket.

 

The world is full of people like that family, insofar as they are journeying through life, totally unaware of the incredible ‘Banquet of Life’ that God spreads out for them.  And it’s included in the ticket of life.

Jesus refers to this in our Gospel Reading Listen again to what he says:

     I am the living bread that came down from heaven.    If anyone eats this bread, he  

    will live forever.  The bread that I will give him is my flesh, which I give so that the

   world may live.           (John 6, v.51)

 

Jesus declares to us that because God sent him, he lives by the very power of God alive in him.

And through our relationship with him, we too are lifted nearer to God himself with all his benefits and blessings, and are given the gift of life itself.

Not just everyday existence which depends on plain ordinary bread – but more, much more – life in all its abundance: a veritable feast of life with companionship, care and love, hopes and dreams, memories, and the sustenance that only Christ, who is the Bread of Life, can offer.

It’s all included in the believer’s ticket of life!

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