This Sunday’s Gospel reading is John 6.56-69
Because of this [teaching], many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’
There is no such thing as a tension-free Gospel. Jesus’ teaching challenges, and indeed scandalises, many of those who hear it.
Jeremiah condemns the false prophets who ‘preach peace when there is no peace’, and in Matthew 10, Jesus speaks of the way his teaching will even set members of families against one another. He too rejects the false peace which is based on collusion with injustice and oppression. True peace comes only through the cross – through a willingness to confront injustice and oppression, while never ceasing to love and pray for those being confronted.
Simon Peter recognises that, although this is a painful and demanding path, it is the only one worth walking. As he finds out later in the Gospel, it is not a path he can follow in his own power – but one that requires strength and forgiveness which Christ alone can give.
Pray for all those who are attending, serving, volunteering and speaking at Greenbelt this weekend – that the prayer, fellowship and discussion may help their ministries in their local context in the year ahead.