All of the Bible is the inspired Word of God, but in my (sin-shaped) experience some parts of it are 'more' inspiring than others. Perhaps some day I will get holy enough to get the fullest depth in every word, but probably not this week!
Today, I was reading John 6 (Bread of Life) which is on a Catholic boy's short list of "most important words in the Word." Jesus said, "My flesh is real food, my blood is real drink...unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you will have not life in you." Now the Greek word for 'eat' is pretty graphic. It means to "munch, gnaw or chew things like vegetables and nuts." It is used of animals eating. It is not dainty or refined. I now, it makes the Gospel sound kind of like cannibalism [this was one of the charges the ancient Romans made against Christians. And be aware, this graphic usage is Jesus' response to the people who were offended by what He said, the same people who disputed among themselves saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" Ever wonder why Jesus' response to the question wasn't "Hey it is just a metaphor!" Something to ponder...] Jesus promises those who take communion: you will abide in Me and I in you... In light of that I decided to add a eucharist to our Morning Prayer. It is the first time I have had a spontaneous communion service. I was very open to the promise of Jesus as we took communion--and the eternal consequences of that act!
Connected to that promise was the other reading, Romans 8:28-39. "in everything God works for good with those who love Him..." That was our meditation verse for most of the morning (Friday Lenten mini-retreat). Around the table sat a small group of precious people; most of them had suffered deep and horrible losses. They were all there, sorting through the memories of the "wreckage" and each able to say, "I still believe, I still trust, I still love God." It is important (as one woman reminded us) to remember that God is not the author of the evil, He is not the author of death. God does not do terrible things to us to make us grow. [God is the Author of Salvation. God redeems the evil and bad, He takes death and reshapes it into resurrection life.] Meditating on and discussing the bad things (the part of "in all things" that is most difficult to see good in) helped us identify, in flesh and blood realism, the actual good God had worked in our lives.
Lastly we read these words: If God is for us who can be against us?...For I am sure that neither life, nor death, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I want to be loved and so do you. We want to be some one who matters. We want to believe we have worth. There is always someone out there ready and willing to tell us that we are garbage, that we are ugly, stupid, useless. And we hear their voices and we internalize their hard words. Sadly, for many, those could be the voices of family; people who are "supposed" to love us!!! Or, maybe, the voices are inside your head. The demonic accuser telling you there is no hope, no love, no truth. There is also the inner accuser, you telling yourself, "no one can love me, I am not worthy, I am a loser, I am unlovable..."
Paul's message gives hope. "NOTHING..." "NOTHING, (now or ever) can separate you from God's love." Except not believing it. Except listening to those other voices which tell us it is not, cannot, be true. The love is there, but it can be rejected. So accept it!
Jesus' message: "I am food" He says, "look in and through the bread and wine to see it is me. I am feeding you. Giving you life... Giving myself for you and to you." "Me," Jesus says, "living in you. Forever together, two become one." Communion, "one with," a sign/sacrament today of a reality into forever.
It was a great day today, reading and sharing God's Word... I wish you had been here with us.