The Journey Scripture reading for today is John 6:16-59. Jesus told the people that he is the bread from Heaven, and that his followers must eat his flesh. Ew. That’s just gross, and weird.
Are Christians cannibals? Of course not. Yet, just so you know, they were actually accused of that by some people.
What is Jesus talking about when he says that he is the bread of life, and that anyone who eats his flesh will never die, but have everlasting life?
It is always interesting to me how God brings things together in my life as I submit to the daily practices of scripture reading, reflection, and practicing my vocation of teaching (insert your vocation here, and you might find this true for your life as well). Yesterday I wrote a post about the Theology of the Cross in preparation for teaching Catechism last night. That post got me really excited (the delivery in Catechism was less-than-exciting, but, oh well).
There were two key concepts in that post that connected to the text for today. First, God is hidden. The infinite God is truly unaccessible to our finite minds. The best we can do when speaking of God is to use metaphors that, while helpful, can also distort our understanding of God. This is especially true when we fixate on one metaphor.
The second concept is that the only true glimpse of God that we know is Christ crucified and risen. The apostle Paul says this in 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. God reveals Godself in the human flesh of Jesus and, in that flesh, takes the sin of the world to the cross and kills it. God dies for us. Then Jesus rises from the dead in new life and the hope of new life for the universe.
That is the bread from Heaven. It is mysterious, it is weird, it is too simple to be true, and it is free.
When we gather around the bread and the wine, the Real Presence of Jesus is among us, and we take it into our own physical bodies. We, the church, are the body of Christ. We are sent into the world, daily, to be the hands and feet of Jesus to proclaim (primarily through action, but also through words) this good news to all people.
The bread is the crucified and risen Jesus. May we eat well today.