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Life Hurts

Life hurts may be an understatement to many right now.  We all have our suffering.  It is simply different degrees of suffering. Last Sunday I thought about Christ’s suffering in a whole new way. I read in my church calendar that it was “World Communion Day.” Even though I use the same calendar every year, I had never noticed it before. I asked my husband to have a special time of communion together. 

I chose the passage of John 6 when Jesus tells His followers that they must eat His body and drink His blood. What started out as many following Him searching for more signs of food (He had recently fed the multitudes and their appetites were whetted) ended with the people insisting that He grow their faith with more of His miracles.  He turned the conversation to the truth, and not only did they turn away, but it really made the church leaders furious. He continued this teaching in the synagogue and that is when the religious leaders had enough.  John 6:52-59 records the interaction:

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.

It was a hard saying for them to hear, but did they think about how hard it was for Jesus to say it? He was offering to share His very flesh and his precious blood with them. Did they even take the time to think about the implications before they so violently objected to what He said? Do I?

Honestly, when I saw it was “World Communion Day,” I was happy. I am usually excited when it is time for communion. I could tell you about times that I have shared communion with congregations who don’t normally allow someone who isn’t a member of their congregation and  isn’t often welcomed, and I receive it as a gift from God and His leading that allows me to take part. I mostly want to participate in communion because of what it represents to me. I am completely forgiven because of what Christ did with His body and blood. I drink  and eat in utter joy and relief. I can’t say that I never think of what it cost Christ to offer His blood and His body, but I easily get caught up in the grace this meal reveals to me.

For me to celebrate World Communion Day, Christ had to suffer. His body and blood had to be offered up willingly in obedience to God’s divine plan. He could not slip one time in His human nature and allow sin into His heart. How in the world He did not judge these foolish religious leaders who argued with Him about proclaiming that eating His flesh and drinking blood was their only hope of salvation? But He did. He was sinless as He hung on that cross.

Christ’s utter suffering brought about my great salvation. Why would I not expect to participate in His suffering? Why should I not embrace the suffering I endure to come to deeper understanding of Christ’s sacrifice?  World Communion Day is a beautiful day, but a crucial day to embrace Christ’s suffering and endure my own.


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