From God's fullness we have all received, grace upon grace
Lectio Divina: “anyone who comes”

Lectio Divina: “anyone who comes”

Gospel reading: John 6.35-40

Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.’


There are so many phrases in the passage that express in an affirmative form the infinite love of God for all people and all things:

  • Whoever comes to me
  • whoever believes in me
  • Everything that the Father gives me
  • anyone who comes to me
  • all who see the Son

…and many that express in an equivalent opposing sense that that love is not finite, or limited by object or time:

  • never be hungry
  • never be thirsty
  • I will never drive away
  • I should lose nothing

That is, there is no-one who is not welcome or will never be welcome.

Over the years I have spent a number of weeks on Iona. Once I coincided with a visit of Kathy Galloway, the then leader of the Iona Community and a minister in the Church of Scotland. That week, she was the one to preside at the regular Thursday evening Communion service in the Abbey. She stood at the head of the long table set in the choir, facing down its expanse of white cloth towards the great space of the nave, surrounded by people of all ages, nationalities, genders, sexualities, denominations, and probably all faiths and none. And she boomed ‘all are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome’.

Be more like Kathy. Be more like Jesus.

There is a comfortable comforting spaciousness with Jesus. But we don’t always reflect that to all others. It is a challenge to become more aware of any biases or prejudices or expectations that we have of others, whether conscious or unconscious, and any obstacles we may have put in their path, whether through commission or omission.

Take a simple example, of Sunday by Sunday providing gluten-free host. Jesus says, ‘I am the bread of life.’ For many, this is a beautiful and simple metaphor or sacrament. For others it is problematic, but it need not be a barrier to welcome. So how else can we improve accessibility and welcome, considering both the physical space and objects we use, and our language, norms and behaviour?


Since April 2020, I have been jointly hosting a shared Lectio Divina group on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings. These are my reflections only, during the prayer session and as I wrote them up. Please see my separate commentary and leaflet for more information about shared Lectio.