When Jesus starts talking about his body as bread and his blood as drink, the people are understandably perplexed, and perhaps a bit mortified. The apostle Paul explains it this way, “Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:22-24).
Indeed, the Cross is where we are likely to trip up on our quest for wisdom because it is all so odd, and yet believers find the center of faith and a deep source of wisdom in this mystery. It is illogical and nearly incomprehensible that God would become flesh, that God would empty Godself of glory, that God would willingly suffer and die, and that death would become the portal to life everlasting. Yet we reenact and celebrate this process again and again in the life of the church. God’s seeming recklessness initiates our salvation.
The church’s practice of Communion is one of the more peculiar activities we participate in together as we receive God’s mystical gift by approaching the table with our bodies. Most days we try to approach God with our minds, and wisdom escapes us. During Communion we approach God with our full and humble selves, and the wisdom enters us through the flesh and blood of Christ.
God of Mystery, I may never fully untangle who you are or why you do as you do. Grant me not the answers I want but the wisdom I need. O Christ, help me understand what it means for you to be human not so I can master knowledge but so I can live as you lived. O Living Spirit, guide me down the right path, even when I do not understand the instructions or perceive the reasons. Amen.
If you could ask God for one thing, what would it be? God offered this chance to Solomon, and the king asked for wisdom to rule God’s people well. God honored this request by giving Solomon many other gifts too, as long as the king followed God’s ways. (Later on, unfortunately, Solomon lost his way.) The psalmist tells us that wisdom begins with understanding who we are and who God is. Ephesians addresses practical implications of wise living: follow the will of the Lord, be filled with the Spirit, encourage one another, and be grateful to God. The Gospel passage continues Jesus’ metaphorical description of himself as the bread of heaven. Here Jesus anticipates the sacrament of Communion, in which we partake of his body and blood by faith.
• Read 1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14. Why are you afraid to ask God to meet your needs or show you your call?
• Read Psalm 111. What actions dominate your quest for God? Do you remember to stop and delight in God’s love for you?
• Read Ephesians 5:15-20. How do you make the most of your time with God? How do you show others that you are filled with the Spirit?
• Read John 6:51-58. In Communion we recall Jesus’ offering of his body and blood. How has that concept been a stumbling block to you?
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