Over the last four weeks the Church of England lectionary for Sunday services has given us the Gospel according to John chapter 6. For those of you that don't immediately recall what that includes let me provide a summary.
Jesus feeds the 5000 on the hillside by miraculously turning a few loaves and fish into enough to fill everyone's stomachs.
The people follow Jesus looking for more food and He tells them that they're searching for the wrong thing; that don't need actual food, they need Jesus as a food for the soul.
The religious leaders can't believe that Jesus is comparing himself to the Manna Moses provided in the wilderness; Jesus put them right and told them that He is the true food from God that lasts eternally.
Jesus refers to himself as God and as the Bread of Life; he is telling the people that he is their sustenance, their everything; their food for ever. Jesus is the bread of life to be digested by us to give us energy for life.
Over the weeks that I've been living with, researching and preaching on these teachings I have come across two photos that have spoken to me. You may well wonder why these pictures have come to relate to the passages for me, me too at first; but then I realised that they are like stairways to heaven.
One is a staircase which leads to a circle of light. It speaks to me about the endless journey towards salvation and heaven and happiness which many people wrongly feel is their task as a Christian.
The other is the memorial to the twin towers which shows the connection of light and love directly from earth to heaven and back again. This is the faith I know to be real; the living of heaven on earth now because Jesus came as our bread of life and died to save us for all evil.
Are we on a stairway to heaven?
Yes, but it's not a stairway we have to suffer; it's a stairway that brings heaven within our reach from the first step.
Almost as soon as I posted I found a third photo which just adds to this.
See the few easy steps into the light? That's heaven, right here on earth for us all.