Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pentecost 12b - John 6:51-58

John 6:51-58

This is the Gospel of John’s take on what Jesus meant the meal to be. More than a ritualized remembrance, the living bread from heaven is the life of God in bread baked and grape fermented that at the same time is the real flesh and blood of Jesus.  When she was young and her brother younger still, Michaelann told Austin, “I know it tastes like bread but it’s really Jesus’ body” to which he replied, “Ewwwww.” (and rightly so) That’s the trouble with texts that want to be taken literally and figuratively at the very same time. It is bread but it is really Jesus body. It is wine but it is really Jesus’ blood. Or we might just as easily say it is Jesus’ body but it is really bread. Or it is Jesus’ blood but it is really wine. The Lutheran take on what Jesus meant the meal to be proclaims the paradox and accepts both statements to be true at the very same time. And in the very same way, the simple meal of bread and body, wine and blood, transcends time and space so that joined with Christ we are united with those who are and those who were and those who will be. That is how the forever future feast is fully found in our present even as we remember the past, “in the night in which he was betrayed Jesus took bread…”  It tastes familiar, like the things of the earth we eat at home but as the bread we will eat in heaven it declares what no eye has seen, no ear heard, no mind conceived…. (1 Corinthians 2:9) 

1 comment:

  1. "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

    With all due respect, I think Luther tried to think this concept to death. He was incredulous to the concept "ex opere operato," more pre-occupied with the notion of unworthy ministers, and thus, to the notion that the "sacred" cannot exist outside our ability to grasp or assent to it. Can/Does "Sacredness", "Presence", and "Giftedness" exist in and of itself?