The Holy Eucharist from a nondenominational point of view. It is rather strange to do. Also to make Blood and Flesh some
I wrote this a while ago and just last weekend a young man came up to me thanked me. For what I asked and he said "for making the eucharist meaningful again." We spoke of the guilt he had felt for having some doubts, but said that now the eucharist is something he looks forward to, not so much to remove doubt but to be forgiven, for having it. Of course I let him know that the eucharist is symbolic and that he needs to know he is forgiven whenever he asks for it. But we both charged into church to take part in the Eucharist.
Literally it is weird, metaphorically it is brilliant
Today the Gospel my people and I are reading is John 6:51-58 and it is some of the strangest teachings of the Bible. Perhaps it is the most important. And probably it turns a lot of people away from the Bible and Christianity as a whole. It is perhaps more important to the Holy Eucharist than even the last supper. It speaks of eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood. That is weird.
The setting is critical
Jesus is speaking with the same folks that have been following him for a bit. We can assume he was quite close to them physically. Most in attendance were probably witnesses to the feeding of the 5,000. These same folks wanted to make Him a King on earth. Either these folks were out of work or considered it important enough to leave work to listen to Jesus. Or perhaps they were idle rich.
Probably a lot of the folks following around after Jesus had heard the stories of God feeding their whole tribe for months and months with manna from heaven, and they wanted in on it. So Jesus teaches in parable style, likening himself to bread and drink. He explains that those ancestors that ate the manna died. That that bread was only meant for physical sustenance and not spiritual sustenance.
Jesus was at the least a carpenter turned teacher and a man filled with Love
It Is A Parable
But the hard part is the speaking of eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking His blood. And doubly weird if you realize that who He is talking to have strict forbiddance against the drinking or consuming of any blood, as in Kosher. Taken literally this writing is just out right creepy and gross. So the first folks to make sense of it incorporated it into what is known as the Holy Eucharist. It is the eating of the bread and wine that are transfigured during ritual into the bread of life and the cup of salvation. It is a truly beautiful ritual that brings most participants into a closer connection with God. And it follows what is written of Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples.
Drink of this Cup or two
Taken Literally it is silly, Taken how it was meant is awesome.
Back to the hard part. Jesus was an amazing teacher and His teaching is timeless. For those of us Christians, we would say Jesus is an amazing teacher. So He spoke in parables that would require thought and inquiry as to what the parables meant. Hidden messages are normal and blind acceptance of the parables would be disastrous. So for a lay fellow like me, I have to wrap my head around the notion that we are to eat and drink in the Spirit of Christ which to me is Love. In my head I just switch the word Jesus or His use of my and me and I into Love. And then I can set my intentions to figuratively be eating and drinking Love.
Now the real special part about this, is the Bible does not mention a Church in this reading. Or any particular ritual to partake of the Bread of Life or the Cup of Salvation. We can do this on our own and we can do it all day and night long. We just have to consume that wonderful Spirit of Jesus, through Love.