June 12, 2020
Too good to be true?
Every time I turn on the computer or open the morning mail, I’m offered the deal of a lifetime. Lucky me! I’m sure this doesn’t happen to everyone. I’m sure I’m the chosen one to whom the universe is trying to unburden itself of a fortune or a last-chance opportunity too good to refuse.
Still, believe it or not, I do refuse. At least 99.9 percent of the time I’m led to suspect that the deal in front of me is no deal at all. It’s only some lousy trick to part me from my money, hijack my computer, or steal my credit card information. Once, when I was younger, I did get ripped off by a phone scam that offered to renew a magazine subscription for three years at a too-good-to-be-true price. It wasn’t true. Now I’m harder to fool.
Maybe the crowd around Jesus felt the same way when he talked about giving away eternal life at bargain-basement rates. Eat and drink and never die, he said. Yeah, right. Itinerant preachers wandered across the ancient world giving away the cosmic store all the time. Participate in these rituals and gain control over your enemies! Practice these wisdom instructions and live a long life! It may have sounded like the ads that claim popping this pill will rid you of arthritis or make you thin. But read the fine print. This stuff could also kill you in 30 different ways.
John’s discourse today was written as a question posed to a third-generation church already putting some distance between itself and its Jewish roots. If the historical Jesus had actually invited people in the streets to gnaw on his flesh or drink his blood, he might have been arrested for a grisly if not indecent proposal. What John is telling the believing community before him is this: Jesus offers Eucharistic inclusion—the deal of a lifetime—to all within the sound of his voice. His first audience replied with an emphatic, no, thank you! The question remains: What will you and I do?
Because John’s audience already sits in the house church around the Lord’s table, their response should be obvious. Sure, count us in! In the same way it should be obvious that everyone who professes the creed is already participating in the Body and Blood of Christ. But you know that every deal has its fine print. This one is no exception. If you partake of this blessing cup, you volunteer to share in the death of Christ, as Saint Paul tells us many times. If you partake of the body of Christ, you will suffer in the many ways that his body suffers in the world today. To get everything Jesus offers, you have to offer everything you’ve got. Now then: Who’s in and who’s out?
This article appeared at PreparetheWord.com
Alice Camille is a religious educator, scripture commentator, and author of many books including This Transforming Word and other titles found at alicecamille.com.
Rev. Edward C. Domme, Pastor
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Albuquerque, NM 87108
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