John 6:40 (NIV) Warning Label to be Affixed
For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and Believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
At this bold and unprecedented proclamation, “the Jews began to grumble,” (6:41). “Hold on! Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph whose father and mother we know?” (6:42) “Grumble?” Rather almost certainly, “Are you kidding me? Ridiculous! I knew him in 6th grade. We played Little League together! I know his parents (6:42). His dad and I go to the same pub. We’ve got to go through him to get to the Father?” He’s the bread which we “may eat and not die?” (6:50).
God not crashing into human history as a celestial meteorite but as a baby in a backwater, contentious corner of the Roman Empire where metaphor becomes real: the bread, visible and tangible transforms, becoming the substance of the body of our Lord, our souls then enlivened, strengthened. We rub our eyes, staring, stunned.
The metaphor then becomes, “…living bread which came down from heaven” (6:51). The bread both forever sustaining and inspiring, He now accessible through simple bread and wine, welcoming us into a life of discipleship, a risky but sustaining life of giving and receiving, of mercy, justice, and love. To “take this bread,” a small warning label should be affixed: “There will be joy like you’ve never known, and you will be drawn to those in pain, those who suffer.”
Dear Lord: How we want to follow you, walking along the path with you, laughing with you in joy, holding on to you as we waver, throughout sustained and impelled by the simple and accessible sacraments of bread and wine. Amen.