John 6:52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 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. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55 for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58 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.” 59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.
The Jews were continually confused by Jesus. What was he suggesting in this language? The idea of partaking his blood and flesh would have sounded ridiculous and repulsive to them but they didn’t seem to understand, or possibly desire to understand this metaphorically. Jesus had come to provide a way for humanity to partake of the divine nature and to become God’s holy people. No longer was this to be through the law but by the transformation of their lives through participation in Christ. That’s why the bread came down from heaven, to be accessible to all. The love of the holy Father compelled Christ to come in the flesh so that flesh might become partakers and live forever.
Not everything in Scripture is literal and when we get hung up on the literal we may lose sight of the real message. This invitation to become partakers of Christ is really quite astounding. It is a pathway to transformation in all of our lives that is probably beyond our human understanding and it goes to the very core of holiness. It is in partaking that we become abiders. This continual, day in and day out abiding in holy communion with God provides for us a way in which to live. The strains of life can be overwhelming and far beyond our control. It is in the moment that we think we have one thing settled that another arises and we discover that we have no control. All we can do is partake and abide and live in the peace of knowing Christ.
The invitation to partake comes to us directly from Christ. Every time that we fellowship at his table we are reminded of this beautiful promise of participation in God. This is our hope for today and the future. We can learn to trust in the Lord and walk daily, nourished by participation in Christ.
Lord, please help me to live in your abiding presence today. Amen.
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