"Jesus said, 'Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.' When his disciples heard it, they said, 'This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?'" - John 6:56 and 60
Remember that time your pastor said something controversial in the name of the gospel and people got all huffy and threatened to leave the church or stop giving? Whatever your pastor said, I'm pretty sure she didn't offer herself up for dinner like Jesus did.
Jesus lost a bunch of followers that day. Some might have been big givers. Perhaps a few who remained thought about giving this young preacher lessons in diplomacy and threading the needle. It was challenging enough to affirm that God has taken on flesh and blood. It was outrageous to imagine eating and drinking God.
Jesus was undaunted by mass rejection. He simply turned to the baffled disciples and asked "Do you also want to leave?" Speaking for the group Peter says, "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life." Peter knew Jesus wasn't promoting cannibalism. Jesus was talking about sharing and multiplying the incarnation as God takes up residence in our flesh.
I've been serving Christ's body and blood for years and I still don't understand how that works. But I do know that the Christian life hinges on a wonderful controversy: we are not only made by God, we are made of God.
Help me become what I already am.
Matt Laney is the Senior Pastor of Virginia Highland Church UCC in Atlanta, GA and the author of Pride Wars, a fantasy series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers. The first book, The Spinner Prince available now.