True food and true drink

The 12th Sunday after Pentecost
Year B - Proper 15
John 6:51-58

Words of love and friendship will sometimes offend because they are simply too intimate.  The hearer takes a step back in order to protect himself or herself.  Such words violate the bubble we surround ourselves with - that eighteen inches of real or metaphorical space which keep us separate from those we don't love and, sometimes, even those we do love.

Words of truth will sometimes offend because they cut too close to the bone.  We surround ourselves with a cushion of polite untruths which keep us from staring at the stark reality of things as they are and such words threaten to expose us.

Jesus words in this week's Gospel reading about his own person - literally his body and his blood - being "true food and true drink" caused no end of consternation among Jesus' enemies and even those who counted themselves his followers.  As becomes clear from next week's Gospel reading these memorable words were memorable because this was the day the crowd began to thin.  Part of the crowd found themselves deeply offended by the intimacy of the words about Jesus body and blood being food and drink.  

There is more to this than can reasonably be discussed here or even in the sermons over the next two Sundays.  It must be stated, however, that: 

1) the way we know ourselves and each other is very much in the sometimes all-too-real domain of flesh and blood.

2) the things which draw us toward God or drive us away from him are often associated with our natural hungers, our feelings, our reactions to kindness shown to us or withdrawn from us at various parts of our life.  Our spiritual sentiments are wrapped up with our feelings which, in turn are never far from our bodies.  

"God the idea" is comfortably distant.  

"God in Christ" speaks to us of his presence among us as food and drink.

He identifies the need within us for such sustenance and in speaking of our great need makes us, somehow, uncomfortable.  It's a hurdle which needs to be leaped:  our discomfort at recognizing and speaking about what we need, and of saying that we are hungry for what our normal evening meal will never be able to provide.




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