The manna story

John 6:24-35; Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15; Ephesians 4:1-16

Many preachers, facing the summer lectionary in Year B, ask why there are five weeks of John 6. The simplest answer is that the first draft of this three-year lectionary was designed by Roman Catholics, who treasure this chapter and enact it in their daily Eucharist. Subsequent revisions of the lectionary sought to keep at least the Gospel readings untouched. Perhaps some clergy think, well, it’s summertime and most people will miss half the Sundays anyway. But I, who am not a preacher, attend church on all these five Sundays and am glad that my national church, in its use of the Revised Common Lectionary, selects the option of complementary readings: the first reading always in some way connects with the Gospel. In this case, the Gospel of John, as it teaches about bread from heaven, keeps company with those passages from the Hebrew scriptures that the evangelist assumed the hearers knew: “Scripture interprets scripture” is a good place to start.


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