This week’s readings are listed in Track One, here.

Rather than focus on the entirety of any of the readings, or the thematic interplay between them, let’s just focus on the most familiar lines from each of the final three readings — which are indeed among the more familiar lines from the Bible.

From the Psalms: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

From Ephesians: “There is one body and one Spirit… one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.”

From the Gospel of John: “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.'”

One could strive for days to come up with three other passages that so concisely outline the essentials of the Christian faith.

The line from Psalm 51 sums up the attitude with which we should approach the Lord. The line from Ephesians sums up the singularity and universality of the Lord, in whom we place our faith. And the line from the Gospel sums up the promise the Lord offers us, merely for desiring a clean heart and right spirit while putting our faith in Him as God and Father of all.

In other words, this is how we must think, what we must believe, and what God gives us if we do indeed believe.

In some ways, our faith really is, or should be, just that simple. As Paul writes in the same reading from Ephesians, “we must [not be]… tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine.” We must not let sophists — or modern-day pharisees — try to over-complicate our faith and ensnare us in niggling disputes about absurd minutiae.

This is not to say that particular points of doctrine are unimportant, but only that all doctrinal points must serve, rather than obscure, the essential and simple part of Christ’s message. That message, writes Paul, is that “speaking from love, we must grow up in every way… into Christ” — the mystical body of whom (the church writ large) must forever be engaged “in building itself up in love.”

In turn, our Lord promises that through and because of our faith we will never hunger and never thirst.

It is in that way that God responds when we offer the prayer of petition in the words of Psalm 51: “Give me the joy of your saving help again, and sustain me with your bountiful spirit.”

So, again: Petition to God to be a better person, believe that God is unique and real and universal, and then rejoice in His saving grace. And, in that grace, be a useful part of God’s universal body of love.