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Eating Jesus

Eating Jesus

Last night I ate King salmon cooked on the barbecue. It was a wondrous vacation experience.  Through it I immersed myself in the cold, dangerous waters of the Pacific, the fish the salmon eats, the creatures those fish eat, the sun through waves, and moonlight’s fractured glimmering in the depths.  I imagined living buoyed up, surrounded by the substance I breathed, always hungry, constantly in danger, and ever a danger to those I hunted.

The Irish say there is an Old Salmon who is magic, and eating of their body gives a person wisdom.  I imagine what canny wisdom that would be.  Self preservation would be a good part of it, I would imagine: the strategies of the hunt and how to find safety.  But alongside that would be the mind-boggling perspective of the realm of water, where locations have depth-height coordinates along with latitude and longitude.

In today’s second lesson from the Hebrew Bible, Wisdom is a woman.  She has prepared a banquet in her home, and she invites all who are simple to turn in there.  Eat, drink, and be wise, she invites.  “Lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”  (Proverbs 9:6)  I imagine Wisdom’s banquet, with its dishes of vast understanding.  What nourishment!

Then there’s Jesus’ message from John’s Gospel.  “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.”  (John 6:56-57)

I imagine eating the incarnate God and coming to see as Christ sees.  Eating Jesus, I immerse myself in a perspective different from my usual one.  LIke the salmon knows the world of ocean depths, Christ knows the reaches of soul connectedness.  This understanding is lodged deep within me.  In it I am connected to everybody because we are kin.  No one is alone or apart.  My breathing is easier, full of sunlight and spirit.  I am one-d with God.

Abiding in Christ as Christ abides in me is something that goes on all the time.  It’s like a power source that I can tap into anytime.  That I don’t do that more often is a testament to my foolishness and immaturity.  How often do I remember to sit at Wisdom’s table?

The Eucharist reminds me.  Taking the bread into my hand and sipping the wine, I can powerfully be put in mind of my essential connection to Christ.

In this season of profound uncertainty, eating Jesus and sinking into his perspective is a life-giving reality check.  We have to do it if we are going to be of any help at all.

And so, as my vacation continues, I promise myself that my life in future will hold less news broadcasts and more spiritual disciplines, less worry about the future and more presence to those around me who may be in need.  I want to give myself as many reminders as possible to center in that place where I abide in Christ and Christ abides in me.  I want to be aware of eating Jesus.


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