The Power of the Table

Today’s Scripture Readings

The Power of the Table

“I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”  So it comes to us from Jesus in the gospel of John.

John has many “I AM” statements for Jesus: I am the resurrection and the life.  I am the living water.  I am the light of the world.  I am the Good Shepherd.  But being the bread of life is even more intimate and essential, for one does not live without bread.

Part of the symbol surrounding the bread, but also the mystery of the table, is this aspect of the bread: Christ becomes a part of us just as the b

read integrates with our body and soul.  The bread then becomes living bread, moving out into the world.

This was beautifully represented in art at the Christian Educator conference I got back from yesterday.  The Rev. Shawna Bowman was our artist, painting all throughout worship.   As you can see in the pictures, there is much paint, but a void of paint at the outline of people.  The last day this transformed, where after eating the bread of life and drinking from the cup of salvation, Shawna anointed our hands or faces with paint.  In a sense it was an unbinding of the body of Christ, as we were set free into the world.  Living art, taking the message with us.

If we take the gospel of John as a whole, we come to understand that the one who claims all these “I am” statements is also the one who claims that he is in the Father and the Father in him.  We also learn that he is in us, just as we are in him.

This mystical union is a fancy way of talking about the Holy Spirit and the body of Christ.  If Jesus is the bread of life, then we become the bread of life in the post-Pentecost days.  We become the hands of Christ.  We become the mechanism for daily sustenance to the hungering world around us.

-Matt
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