Vicar’s Reflection: 9th August 2015, Ordinary Sunday 19
Bread is simple: flour, water, yeast and salt. Yet in the right hands, kneaded, rested and baked it produces a divine fragrance and taste. Bread nourishes the body and the soul. Wine is similar – what is it but grape juice and natural yeasts? Yet with time, and the right fermentation it produces a complex and delicious elixir, the perfect accompaniment to a meal. When Jesus presented himself as the ‘Bread of Life’ (John 6:48) and challenged people to ‘eat this bread’ I am sure he was as much mindful of the processes involved in bringing delicious bread and wine to the table as he was of the objects they are. I believe he was commending not just himself as a person; he was not encouraging cannibalism, rather he was challenging people to fully participate in the way of godly living that he was teaching. When he challenged people to ‘eat my flesh’ he was calling people to participate in the processes of living sacrificially for God as he did. Just as both bread and wine don’t exist without the natural processes of growth and harvest, of milling, crushing, fermentation and baking for bread; so also the true follower of Jesus gives themselves to baptism, discipleship, sacrificial service, regular worship and belonging to the Body of Christ. It’s simple really. Bon appetite!