Throughout the month of August our Gospel readings have come from the sixth chapter of John and we heard a lot about bread and the life changing significance of how Jesus is the “Bread of Life.” And this reminds me of a story…
Down in New Orleans in the French Quarter there was a wonderful little jazz club where the most talented musicians regularly performed. From the day the place opened, everyone complained about the terrible old piano with its missing keys and sour notes. The piano player hated playing it. The vocalists hated singing with it. And all the combos that played the club wished they could bring their own instrument. But nothing changed. Finally, after years of hearing everyone complain, the owner of the club decided to act and settle the matter once and for all. And so, at great expense he had the piano painted!
Real change is always hard. And facing up to whatever really need to change is even harder. That’s why the weekly celebration of Holy Communion is so important to us. The Bread and Wine/the Body and Blood of Christ is our power source: food for our spirit. It gives us energy for the tough journey we’re on and it keeps us going. But even more important, it’s medicine for our spirit, the ultimate heart medicine.
When taken as directed, it has the power to cure what’s ails us, and heal that which has wounded us. But it isn’t magic. We have to take it as it is directed. That means we have to receive the Lord, not just into our hands or on our lips, but all the way into our inmost being. And doing that takes close attention, inner quiet, and a great deal of trust.
But when we do welcome the Lord in that way, there, deep inside, with all the doors unlocked and all the nooks and crannies open, the Lord lights up our darkness. Deep inside us, heavenly warmth and light help us to see and know God as absolutely devoted to us, utterly delighted at our successes, and anxious to see us get better, and happier, and more whole.
What powerful heart medicine God is for us. He doesn’t just make us feel better. By his kind presence he gives us the courage and the confidence to look at what needs to be done and to see where we need to change, and not just close our eyes or look away from our unfinished work.
Change is always hard but it becomes possible for us when we trust the Lord enough to come into our hearts, shine a warm and kindly light on what we need to see, and take us by the hand and lead us where we need to go. And that happens when we receive the body and blood of the Lord without distraction or barrier.
So let us pray for one another: May God help us to receive Jesus’ holy body and blood, not just in our hands and on our lips but in the depth of our heart. And as we share God’s company, heart to heart, may we be transformed into his likeness. Amen
Living in God’s amazing grace, Pastor Stephen Blenkush
with the cross of Christ forever,