GOSPEL | JOHN 6:52-59
52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55 for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.” 59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.
“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.” (v.56)
Every Friday at the Seminary, we share communion together during morning prayers. This has been a rich blessing for me during the last two years, and today’s reading from John echoed throughout all of morning prayers.
We come to have communion with this same Christ,
who has promised to be with us always, even to the end of the world.
In the breaking of the bread he makes himself known to us
as the true heavenly bread that strengthens us unto life eternal.
In the cup of blessing he comes to us as the vine,
in whom we must abide if we are to bear fruit.
~ from the Institution of the Lord’s Supper, a part of the RCA’s communion liturgy
As I reflected on this communion, this mutual abiding, that Jesus describes, I found myself praying along with the epiclesis (the invocation of the Holy Spirit) in earnest during our communion liturgy:
Send your Holy Spirit upon us, we pray,
that the sharing of the bread that we break
and the cup that we bless
may be for us the communion of the body and blood of Christ.
Grant that, being joined together in him,
we may attain to the unity of the faith
and grow up in all things into Christ, our Lord.
~ Epiclesis, from the RCA Great Prayer of the Thanksgiving