Church of England Diocese of Leicester The Gaulby Group

Reflection from Sunday 1st August delivered by Hilary Painter (Reader)

2 Aug 2021, 1:15 p.m.

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.

This is as tough a call nowadays as it was in Jesus’ time: not to work for the short term gains but for the long term.

Our world, so competitive and materialistic, is moving in the opposite direction. Adverts, social media, competition at all levels, push us to fulfil the needs and desires of the moment. Few of us manage to avoid it.

In a way we’re like children and, like children, we learn from our mother’s knee Picture the harassed mum, wanting to do her best for her children, slaving to produce a birthday tea, lovingly preparing the party food of choice, decorating fairy cakes, sticking sausages into a foil wrapped potato to look like a hedgehog or whatever the food fad of the moment is. Then picture the birthday cake itself, a tooth-rotting sacrifice to junior’s favourite character, real or cartoon.

Then picture the demolition job performed by said child and the hoard of friends who appear not to have eaten for days.

Finally picture the competition among the mothers to provide the best party bags.

The memories flood back. How I remember the angst! The angst I felt, the angst expressed by most mothers and by primary school teachers facing The Christmas Party.

The children forget all about tasting the food, enjoying the games, having fun with friends at the party. Memories that could last. All they seem to remember is who was naughty, who got hurt and who was sick.

Eventually the guests depart, with a thank you if you’re fortunate, leaving the house looking like a bomb site.

It’s ironic that these are the children we consider the lucky ones; the haves rather than the have nots. But what values are they learning?

It’s easy to go through life, staying in that party mode. So much of what the world offers to we lucky folk in the west is junk - artificial and full of the lies our minds like to believe. Short term and empty.

But we have a healthy alternative. The spiritual bread that Christ offers us; food of a different kind. The bread of heaven sustains us, enriches our lives and nourishes our souls. <span style="font-size: 1rem;">Lord, we beg for wisdom, for knowing how to choose between what lasts and what is merely passing fancy, and we pray for the courage to do what we know is more important. Amen</span>