Devotional Reading: John 6: 52-59. Morning Psalm-22; Evening Psalm-105
Text: I assure you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. (6:53, Today’s Living Bible)
No matter what bible translation or paraphrase you read, this verse strikes a discordant note upon our ears.
A few days ago I was leading a bible study of senior adults and the question of literalism came up. I told them that while my theological tradition does not believe in scriptural literalism, we do believe that scripture is the divinely inspired word of God. Cannibalism is one of the rumors that haunted the early Christian communities, especially John’s.
What the gospel writer in John is really saying is that unless we make the teachings of Jesus a part of our very being, like the food eat and the water we drink, we cannot fully experience the life that Christ intends for us. This text is a challenges us to take Jesus seriously!
It is easy for us to try to “tame” Jesus and explain away his more challenging teachings; forgive and pray for your enemies, lose your life for the Gospel’s sake, pick up you Cross, humble yourself to the point of washing another’s feet, care for the Least, the Last and the Lost–all of these things are very very hard. They are counter-cultural.
Perhaps for Lent we shouldn’t give something up. Maybe we should pick something up, like the Cross.
Lord, Give us the strength to be living reflections of your Love, Grace and Mercy. Draw us closer to you each day. Give us comfort in hearing you voice whisper in our ears, especially when we are afraid, “Lo, I am with you always, even until the end of the age.”