This Sunday’s Gospel reading is John 6.24-35
Jesus said: “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 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.”
Throughout August, we continue to read from John 6. Last week we heard about Jesus’ authority over the physical creation, and his meeting of the physical needs of the crowds. In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus calls the crowds beyond to understand the meaning of those events – to see them as ‘signs’ which disclose who he is. They are only truly understood when people recognise them as an invitation into relationship with him.
Christians are called to see the whole created order as a ‘sign’ – not simply as something to consume or possess, but as a gift. The world comes to us from the generosity of God, and is given that we might grow in fellowship and in delight.
This is the vision at the heart of George Herbert’s poetry, and hence of many of our best-loved hymns. We see it in his poem Matins, and most famously in The Elixir:
A man that looks on glass,
On it may stay his eye;
Or if he pleaseth, through it pass,
And then the heaven espy.
What would it mean to us to see the whole creation as a ‘sign’ – full of God-given opportunities to grow in communion with him and with one another?