Sunday, November 24, 2013

John 6:53-54

"Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
John 6:53-54

This is interesting.  A lot of people stopped following Christ after he said this.  And I wonder why... why they decided that this symbolism was too far, and also why Christ said it this way, knowing that it would sound distasteful.  And maybe both reasons are the same.  People left because they weren't ready for this truth, and Christ said it this way because he knew they weren't ready, and he wanted to let them choose to give themselves more time.
This is pretty stark symbolism.  Eating and drinking another person?  But at its core, it is really meaningful.  Our lives depend on Christ's.  We don't live without him... we live because of him, and by his stripes we are healed, as it says in Isaiah 53:5.  The atonement is sometimes hard for us to understand.  Hard intellectually to a certain extent, but perhaps even a bigger challenge for our egos.  We don't like having to depend on other people... feeling helpless or beholden to someone else for saving us.  And yet, that is one of the main lessons of life.  That what Christ did for us, we could never do for ourselves... and without that sacrifice, our lives would be lost and without hope.  He overcame death so that we can all be resurrected and live forever.  And he overcame sin, giving us the chance to repent and avoid the eternal consequences of our actions, if we are willing to change and become better people.
Let's remember the symbolism of the sacrament and the reality that it represents.  Christ suffered and died so that we could live and repent.  We need him.  Our futures would be bleak without him... and as we take the sacrament, we remember his body and his blood, which he gave for us, symbolically partaking and accepting his gift, and promising never to forget him.  Today, let's not run away from that deep dependency on Christ, but instead thank him for it, and live well the lives and the futures that we have because of him.

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