The following meditation was written by David G Mullen, retired bishop and pastor of the ELCA:

 Christ, why this cannibalism?  Do I really have to eat you?  Your words are offensive and disgusting: eating your flesh, drinking your blood.

 

I confess that my inclination is to spiritualize what you ask for.  Let’s make this about believing the right things about you, or about the pursuit of some sort of warm religious experience of union and bliss.  Show me a pathway away from your flesh and blood.  Show me an escape from the human condition you entered.  Show me how to avoid the sweaty, stinky, bad-breathed, farting, hard-faced, arm-crossed chests of the people who are your body.  Show me a way to escape from the homeless with their signs at the freeway exits; the gangsters driving their booming cars; this aging body; the moldering grave; the death of those I love and those I fear; the horror and brutality of the murderous human condition: from your tortured corpus on the Cross.

 

But, you say, “I am the bread of life.”  You call me to open the mouth of mind and heart wide, to take in and chew on the realities of the human condition you entered and loved and saved.  Eat my flesh!  Take all this in, swallow it, digest it, excrete that which is mere waste, and live on the rest.

 

Christ, if the only escape from you and all that you entered is soul death, then give me the grace and courage to eat–your flesh, the flesh of us all.  Eating you, I chew on eternal life.   

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I know it’s the Fourth of July by what we eat:  corn on the cobb, baked beans, potatoe salad, some kind of meat and watermelon.  Maybe we’ll add some kind of vegetable.  We might have potatoe salad a couple of other times a year.  But it’s likely the only time we’ll have baked beans.  We have a couple of other days, in our family, that we know by the food.  Thanksgiving will have turkey with all the trimmings.  It’s the trimmings that set it apart (as we do sometimes have turkey at other times).  Christmas Eve it’s fondue.  This is a slightly newer tradition (maybe less than 15 years) that originated when we were looking for a celebration meal that fit in between two evening services.  Those are the distinctive meals for our family. (more…)