Some of you may be wondering if I have lost it with a headline like that (or is it more of a deadline?) Well, this morning I read John 6:41-59 where Jesus got a bit, well, erm, gruesome.
He told people that they had to eat his flesh and drink his blood. Now I have never assumed that he meant we had to become zombies or cannibals to become Christians (although that accusation was one that was used to justify persecuting the early church (cannibalism, not zombies!)).
Until this morning I have always thought of it as a reference to Communion, the Lord’s Supper, Eucharist, Mass, Bread and Wine or whatever different church traditions call it. It’s a very obvious parallel to what he told his friends at the Last Supper. It’s quite a natural way of interpreting what he said.
But this morning the scandal of what Jesus was saying struck me. While he was not saying that we should become zombies, I don’t think he was talking primarily about communion either. Was he saying that he should be our spiritual staple diet? Was he saying that he needs to be as real within us as the food we eat and the fluids we drink? Was he saying that if you want God-nourishment Jesus needs to become incarnate, real within us? Was he saying that he alone is the source of life?
If the answer to all of those is ‘yes’ (as I suppose) it was scandalous to the Jewish people listening who had strict food laws and felt that observance to them was what God wanted, who could not stomach the idea that God would become flesh, who were revolted at the idea that Jesus was God. It was a complete change from religion to relationship.
That’s much more radical than simply saying ‘I do’ to him. It’s much more than turning up at church from time to time and putting ‘C of E’ on the form in hospital.
It’s a thought that has been musing around inside my head for the rest of the day. How reliant am I on Jesus? How incarnate is he in me and my life (ie can people see him in me)? Am I religious?
Be blessed, be a blessing
Apparently zombie jokes are drop-dead hilarious.