Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Eat and Drink

Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:

I will recount the gracious deeds of the Lord, the praiseworthy acts of the Lord, because of all that the Lord has done for us. Isaiah - 63:7

Indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. - 1 Peter 2:3

Two-year reading texts: Psalm 118:15-21; 2 Samuel 2; John 6:52-59

There are invitations today to "taste and see" the goodness of God and, in John 6, to "abide in" Jesus, who says, "Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day." These are invitations of GRACE - meaning that God comes to us, God takes action first, God reveals truth and life and goodness, and lays it out before us, out of pure love and mercy.

Once we begin to see ourselves as followers of Jesus, taking on the name "disciple" (learner), we see that there is a whole lifelong process for us of watching him, imitating him, coming to see the world from his point of view, working alongside him in God's kingdom, being some of the people he has chosen to work through to make God's love and grace known to the world. It's a very different life from what the world around us encourages us to live. It requires discipline and discernment, saying NO to some things so that we can say YES to other things. As we mature in faith and take some responsibility for leading or encouraging others, we're also called on to use all of our gifts and creativity to put together a plan for moving forward in faith together. It can feel overwhelming!

So it's good to be able to return to the simple words of these invitations of GRACE. Taste and see. Eat and drink. Abide. These are natural, organic things to do. They remind us that the work is God's, not ours. And we are formed and upheld and sustained and strengthened by what God provides. Young or mature, weak or strong, at any stage of life, we know how to taste and see, eat and drink, and abide by resting and drawing strength and healing.

Today, I'm drawn particularly to the words of Jesus, inviting us to eat and drink, and have life into eternity, and be raised up. John's gospel doesn't contain any story of Jesus' institution of holy communion as a part of the life of the church, but I'm one of the people who can't help but notice clear references to communion in Jesus' "Bread of Life Discourse" in John 6. Maybe John is trying not to limit himself to the Last Supper scene in explaining what it means to eat Jesus' flesh and drink his blood. Maybe he knows that we'll be doing that regularly in worship, but also wants us to see that at all times, and in all places, Jesus is the "Bread of Life" who sustains us and keeps us connected to God's eternal kingdom.

Today, I'm thankful for the gift of holy communion. For me, that's the central part of worship, where we come in faith to accept God's invitation of grace, gathering to receive our Lord, empowered to be sent back out into the world. And I'm thankful that whenever I need it, in this daily time of scripture and prayer or in any moment of doubt or stress or uncertainty or exhaustion, the words of invitation are right there, immediately available to me. Thank you, God, for calling me to eat and drink, taste and see, abide in you, now and always. Help me to keep turning to you, and living out of your strength and your will, as I seek to be a child of your grace and a servant of your will.

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