Sunday, August 16, 2015

Abide in Me

Jesus said, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" So Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever." John 6:51-58

I was not brought up in a liturgical tradition and did not see communion as the center of worship as a child. Growing up a PK and a Presbyterian meant regarding the Word as central to all of our common worship. We read the bible at home at the meal table. The Bible was the focus of all that I thought of as church. When I came into the Episcopal Church I was blown away by the centrality of the Eucharist, the daily and weekly practice, and the mystery of the liturgy that invites us all to the table. I am still transformed Eucharist by Eucharist by the primal nature of faith, by the partaking in very physical and real elements that make us abide in Christ, and he in us.

Jesus is answering his critics as he often does. Some of the religious leaders wanted to paint him as insisting on cannibalism, or some other horror. They wanted to paint him with an evil brush. Instead, Jesus invites them (and indeed us) to the table. We are invited to the family table, to become one with the love of God made flesh. We are welcomed, wanted and beckoned to the table. A small morsel of offering becomes our great relationship - we are embedded in the heart of God.

Today I ask God to make me know the love of God within my own flesh. May we experience the love of God, abiding in us, and make welcome those near and far to the table. May our hands be open and our hearts full of God abiding with us, however simple and humble our place might be.

 The Collect

Almighty God, you have given your only Son to be for us a sacrifice for sin, and also an example of godly life: Give us grace to receive thankfully the fruits of his redeeming work, and to follow daily in the blessed steps of his most holy life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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