August 21

John 6:56-61

“When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’” vs. 60

Many people are attracted to the person of Jesus. His teachings point us to a way of life that is admirable–we can all agree on how important it is to love others and give ourselves in humble service. But there are some teachings that have been contentious from the very beginning, and one of those has to do with eating his flesh and drinking his blood. John tells us that many of his disciples found his claims to be a stumbling block and they couldn’t accept them. And the passage of time hasn’t made acceptance any easier–we’re still debating communion beliefs and practices. In fact our disagreements about this matter have led to some of the deepest divisions within the Body of Christ. Many are so set in their convictions that they will refuse to commune with those holding contrary views. But not everyone is so rigid! In recent years we’ve seen some of the barriers come down as believers have realized that Holy Communion is an opportunity to come together in spite of differences in order to celebrate unity. Jesus’ teaching is still difficult–it is hard for our puny minds to comprehend how bread and wine can be flesh and blood. But we don’t have to understand food in order to be nourished by it, and so it is at the Lord’s Table. Those who eat and drink will be fed and satisfied–and that’s the bottom line!

Thought for the Day: When is it proper to refuse communion to a worshipper?

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