Worship with Us This Sunday - 10:15 a.m.
From Pastor Todd’s Weekly email …
Recently I listened to a story about a tragedy in Guatemala. The event took place, if my memory serves me well, in the early 1980’s. Several times the narrator suggested that if listeners included small children they should consider asking them to leave the room or fast forwarding the recording. Good advice. Though I was listening by myself, I would not have wanted small children listening. No, it was not the language. There were no four letter words.
I continued to listen. I did so right through two of these warnings about the content though I did not know what was coming, I would not consider skipping ahead the fifteen minutes that was suggested. I might miss something.
The illustration does not work all the way down. But, it may give the sense of just what it must have been like to listen to Jesus talk about life and faith in terms of eating flesh and drinking blood. Our Gospel text this week includes the last verses from last week. Reading them again seems a bit like not skipping ahead when you know what is described will be hard to swallow.
When some heard Jesus’ words they fought. Others, disciples, grumbled. After Jesus took note of their grumbling, he did not soften his insistence. Jesus ramped up what he had to say. His insistence was intended to call into question the certainty his hearers had and open them up to new, greater possibilities. Jesus pointed them to life. And, in an interesting exchange, it would be Peter who would capture the sense of what was going on. He replied to Jesus when asked if he and the remaining disciples were leaving to, “Where would we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Jesus was not offering a system or a new set of rules. In fact, he undermined the confidence many had in the structures that had given them some sense of peace religiously. When he utilizes their history and vests it with new meaning, he calls for a response. One like Peter’s.
Today we run the risk of fighting and grumbling over Jesus’ words. Many no longer risk, they just fight. What if we could imagine that Jesus was insisting on something new, calling for something grander, inviting to something more lively? It would be a risk, but like Peter maybe the response to the call would be, “Where else may we experience the sort of life you describe?”