Sharing the Table
"...so whoever eats me will live because of me" (John 6:57).
Every Sunday, I walk to the altar beside fellow believers. We kneel, heads bowed, and hold out our hands to receive the bread.
We do this because of you, but what does that mean? Perhaps it would be better translated "so whoever eats me will live for me."
Because when I think of it that way, my next thought is How shall I live for you?
If all believers every Sunday eat your body and imagine ourselves being your body,
what humility might flow from our hearts?
what justice from our judgments?
what kindness from our lips?
what mercies from our hands?
what righting of wrongs within our legal and political systems?
Imagine if we believed the best of our neighbor, squashed our contempt for those with a different doctrine.
Imagine if we welcomed everyone to your table -- Democrat, Republican, black, white, Latino, Catholic, Muslim -- if we welcomed all to share in your life, if we gave the mercies you offered to us.
Imagine if we expected good things from your creation.
Many of your disciples said, "This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?"
Who indeed? Can I?
When it comes right down to it, can I welcome with love and mercy the ones who threaten my existence with their vote? Can I welcome the brother who posts racist comments on Facebook? Can I welcome the family members who withdrew into silence during the long months of my greatest terror and sorrow?
And if I can forgive family and friends, and welcome my enemy, will it change me? Change them? Change the world?
Jesus, you say "It is the spirit that gives life" (John 6:63).
Do I believe in the power of your Spirit? In the life it can give me, us, this world, right now?
Or is my heart too hard, resisting your re-creation of me?
*Thoughts on the Gospel Reading for August 26, 2018,
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations are taken from the
NRSV Bible, © 1989.