Summary: When we take part in worship, especially when we take part in Holy Communion, we draw closer to God, and we allow him to live in us. Only then will we have the inner conviction and witness of the Holy Spirit that we are children of God.
When you were children, did you ever play a game called “Follow the Leader”? Well, for those of you who didn’t, or for those of you who have never heard of the game, let me explain. First, you choose a leader. Then you follow him wherever he goes and do whatever he does. You stomp through puddles, climb over fences, or swing from a tree---all to stay in the game because no one wants to be a quitter.
We often play follow the leader in our daily lives. There are always leaders in everything we do---in school, in church, or in other activities such as the worship service here at Queens Manor this afternoon. For example, I am leading the worship portion of the service, and the choir members sitting beside me are leading us in song.
In the reading we heard from John’s Gospel a few minutes ago, we heard that not everyone who heard Jesus’ teachings about the bread of life wanted to follow him. He lost a lot of his followers. In fact, the only people who remained were the twelve disciples.
There is a price to pay when we follow Jesus. He calls us to give up our worldly life with all of its sinful pleasures and follow a life that will lead to even greater pleasures in heaven. For most of us, that is not an easy choice to make. We have grown comfortable in our daily lives. They are like a pair of shoes that we have broken in. They feel so darn good, and the life we are leading feels so darn good. Most of us don’t like change. We get set in our ways. We get stuck in the rut of daily life, and we don’t want to get out.
I’m going to tell you a story about a little girl named Inga. Inga had two older sisters and the two older sisters were in Girl Scouts. Inga watched her sisters go to Girl Scout meetings and she wished she could go and be a part of that real important stuff that they did. She asked her mother if she could go and her mother said, "But, Inga, you're not old enough to go." Inga said, "Well, when will I be old enough to go?" And Inga’s mother said, “Soon.”
Finally the day came and Inga joined Brownies. She got a little brown skirt jumper and a little brown hat with a little brownie and she got little half socks with a little brownie on it. Her mother even bought her some brown shoes and she dressed up and went to her first meeting and it was just wonderful.
Well, much later when she and her mother and father and sister were coming to church, she asked her mother this question: "I heard about belonging to Jesus. How do I know that I belong to Jesus? We don't have a uniform like the Brownies. I know I belong to the Brownies because I have a uniform. How do I know that I belong to Jesus?"
Her mother replied, "Well, where do you go on Sunday morning?" Inga said, "I go to Sunday school to learn about Jesus."
Her mother continued, "What's that book in your hand?" Inga said, "It's the Bible and the Bible is the stories of Jesus."
And her mother said, “How else do you know that you belong to Jesus, Inga? What do we do always before we go to bed?” Inga replied, “We talk to Jesus every night before we got to sleep.” “And Inga, where do we go after Sunday school?” “We go to the big church.”” And what do we do in the big church? We learn about God and we sing about Jesus."
Then Inga got this big smile on her face and she said, "I belong to Jesus." And her mother said, "That's right." (Pause)
The life Jesus calls us to lead is so revolutionary, so different, and yet so rewarding. It offers us eternal life. The disciples, led by Peter, knew that Jesus offers eternal life to everyone who decides to follow him. The disciples, like Inga and her mother, knew that they needed to feed on the eternal spiritual food that Jesus offers, just like we need to eat the spiritual food that Jesus still offers to us today, especially in the form of the bread and wine that we eat and drink during Holy Communion. When we take part in worship, especially when we take part in Holy Communion, we draw closer to God, and we allow him to live in us. Only then will we have the inner conviction and witness of the Holy Spirit that we are children of God.