In last week’s Gospel reading, Jesus boldly proclaimed that those who believe in him as the “the living bread that came down from heaven,” he would “raise them up on the last day” (John 6:38-48). That led me to declare that no sickness or sin, failure or fear, wound or circumstance ultimately has the final say. God has the final word, and his Word is Life.
I almost started singing an old song by Michael Card:
He spoke the incarnation and then so was born the Son
His Final Word was Jesus, he needed no other one
Spoke flesh and blood so he could bleed and make a way divine
And so was born the baby who would die to make it mine
As I spoke about the flesh and blood of Jesus, I focused on how that very flesh was crucified on the cross, carrying every sin and sickness that ravages our personal and corporate lives, and how that very flesh was resurrected by the Father, bringing the future hope of the restoration of all things into our present.
This week, however, we’ll focus on Jesus’ words, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” If we’re not a little disturbed by this statement, perhaps we’ve become too accustomed to those words. Jesus lost many of his disciples after saying this; they grappled with the implications, gave up, and “no longer walked with him” (John 6:60-66). I want us to walk with Jesus, allowing his words to confront, challenge, and ultimately enliven us as he reveals what he means.
Of course, every week during Eucharist we are invited to experience what he means, even if we don’t fully understand it. Pay attention in particular to the moment when I extend the bread and wine toward you and declare, “Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.” And listen afresh to the words spoken after Deacon Sallie and I dip the bread in the wine, place it in your hands, and you chew and swallow: “The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I look forward to being with you as God is with us this Sunday.
Your Pastor in Christ,