Reading today’s passages, one might interpret that they are somewhat preoccupied with death. Indeed, we are reminded that we are but sheep for the slaughter (Rm. 8:36), sheep that haven’t been lead well by our civic leaders or “pastors” (Jer. 23:1-2). Indeed the psalmist laments his pending death, “My days are like a shadow that declineth (Ps. 102:11).
However, by its very nature death brings us, as Christians, to the promise of everlasting life. It is the greatest promise ever, and a promise that can not be broken. As the Romans passage questions us, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” The conclusion is that nothing can.
But as John reminds us, there is only one way to Christ. That is through faith and belief in Jesus Christ as the Savior and Son of God. One way we show this faith is through the breaking of bread and drinking of his blood. Indeed, we cannot be saved and resurrected without partaking of Christ’s body and blood. Think of this. Were this any other man or woman, any time in history, that said something like this, it would be gruesome. (And in fact it initially angered the Jews; Jn. 6:52.) Yet now we take solace, even joy, in such a communion that brings us closer, even makes us a part of our Lord, and he a part of us.
At no time do I feel more a part of a greater body, than during communion. I look through the church and see so many wonderful people. I am surrounded by my family and those that I love, as well as those that love me. I think of loved ones that have departed the earth, and know I will be reunited with them. I truly feel a part of something larger, more important. What an incredible gift. One that should be shared with all people.
I can’t read the passages in John without practically singing one of my favorite hymns, “I Am the Bread of Life.” Singing is another way to be a member of something where the “body” is greater than the sum of its parts. Multiple voices come together to present a single message that is delivered in a way different than a soloist could. Indeed, it is a compliment to our communion, re-enforcing the feelings of a greater body. So I will leave you with a few lyrics from that hymn relevant to today’s readings.
“I am the resurrection,
I am the life.
They who believe in me,
even if they die,
they shall live for ever.
And I will raise them up on the last day.”