The Dean - The Very Revd Andrew Nunn
Genesis 14.18-20; 1 Corinthians 11.23-26; John 6.51-58
You can’t escape the image, you can’t escape the message. For the next six weeks this cathedral is dominated by the installation of Mark Titchner’s street art which says to us, and you can read it for yourself, ‘Please believe these days will pass’
At the beginning of Dylan Thomas’ play for voices, ‘Under Milk Wood’, the narrator says simply to us, listening into the town of Llaregyb sleeping then waking,
Time passes. Listen. Time passes.
The times that we live in will pass and the things that we are still living through will pass.
Today is the 4th anniversary of the events of the 3 June 2017 that changed our lives forever as 8 people died and 48 people were injured and numerous people suffered the trauma of the terrorist attack on London Bridge and the Borough Market. This morning we marked those events in a simple service around the olive tree which stands as our memorial in the churchyard. It’s a silent witness, slowly growing as the days pass. Please believe these days will pass, and the present will become our past and the future will become our present.
And into all of this this Feast of Corpus Christi speaks to us.
In every Eucharist we’re taken back in time, not just in memory but in deep reality to that Upper Room in Jerusalem, and to the twelve and their companions gathered around a table with Jesus. And he takes bread and blesses, and breaks, and shares it. And he takes a cup of wine and blesses and shares it. ‘This is my body … this is my blood … do this in remembrance of me.’ And we do it, day in day out, the past, present and future sacrament of which St Thomas Aquinas speaks in the words of the alleluia that was sung before the Gospel
At this sacred banquet,
in which Christ is received,
the memory of his passion is renewed,
our lives are filled with grace,
and the promise of future glory is given to us.
The memory becomes real, the past is brought into the present, our lives now become grace-filled, the present is infused with the mystery of God, tomorrow is freighted with promise, the future is full of glory.
Wherever we are in this present moment we have the assurance that God is with us, as God was with our forebears, as God will be with our successors. Listen, time passes, and as it passes bread is broken and we are fed.
God knows the journey that we’re on, that you are on, he knows that as his children travel they need to be fed. Just as manna rained down from heaven in the wilderness and mortals ate the bread of angels, so we feed, not on angels’ bread but on God through God’s own self placed in our hands, food for the journey as we move from the past, through the present to the future.
Please believe these days will pass; please believe that you are fed for the journey, please believe that God is with us, for as we will shortly say in powerful acclamation of the most powerful truth
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.