You are what you eat….
Anyone who’s worked with children knows that they have a wonderful way of seeing the world, often it’s quite literal, so whenever I think of that phrase it reminds me of two things…
The childhood worries that if an apple seed was eaten an apple tree would grow inside you and of course the Roald Dahl story of Charlie and the Chocolate factory where Violet Beauregard turns into a giant blueberry after chewing the incredible 3 course dinner chewing gum (that goes wrong at the Blueberry pie stage).
That’s not really how it works – I am glad to say – but we are aware that the things we eat do affect the way we are, healthy food should lead to a healthy body and even healthy mind, certainly we know an entire diet of junk food won’t do us much good at all!
The gospel reading today gives us a great deal to think about, Jesus talks about eating his body and blood and in the same way we know that this means something deeper than the literal interpretation.
We hear Jesus talking about himself as the Living Bread that came down from heaven. It helps us think about God who left the glory of heaven to be one of us. Jesus speaks of giving up his life, for those who were listening at the time, they may have been confused, but for us who live after the events of the first Easter Day we automatically think of the cross and all that means for us.
Many people have written a great many books about these things. So many theological ideas and complicated concepts, however, today I want us to reflect not on those abstract ideas but rather the heart of Today’s gospel. As Jesus speaks to his disciples the main concern is actually the response of human beings to the love of God.
The importance for us is not primarily what we can understand in our head, (although our God given wisdom is important as our first reading from Proverbs alluded to), our first focus is what is in our heart and what is at the heart of our relationship with God.
We are invited to come and eat at Jesus table, this is about us being part of God’s life together, it is a party, a celebration, we understand this fully in our hearts not just our heads (heart first leads us to think and reflect so it’s head second).
Jesus words to the crowd who heard him over 2,000 years ago were “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” for us that becomes a reality when we receive Communion in Church, but not only then, during the pandemic many of us went more than 6 months without Communion yet still we were fed Spiritually.
At our communion service we speak of ‘feeding’ in our ‘hearts, by faith, with thanksgiving’ perhaps as we continue to reflect on this during the week we can make time in our hearts, and in our lives, to receive ‘by faith’ and ‘with thanksgiving’ it might be that we can set aside just a few minutes each day to read again this bit of the Bible, to be quiet with God and listen to what God wants to say to us, it might be that we are able to share God’s love practically by looking out for someone who is struggling, however we do that this week I pray we might be more aware of all that God offers to us in Jesus, the Living Bread, our friend and saviour.