Monday, August 23, 2010

Daily Office Reflection: Literally Minded

Psalms: 1, 2, 3 * 4, 7; Job 4:1;5:1-11,17-21,26-27; Acts 9:19b-31; John 6:52-59

Jesus is talking about his true followers eating his flesh and drinking his blood and living forever. And the folks he is speaking with are taking him, as so many do, literally. Besides the cannibalistic yukkyness of thinking about this literally, and putting aside the popular and current trendiness of vampirism, I believe these words by Jesus, and this concept that is so much a part of our worship experience, should be remembered and utilized when Scripture is jury-picked and selectively and literally presented.

So much of what we believe is based on metaphor. So much of how Jesus taught, and still teaches us, is through parables and metaphors, with no clear and direct answer. Many times in life we want simple and direct, and that is, probably, in response to a world that is anything but simple and direct. The people Jesus is talking to in today's Gospel reading are taking the easy route, the direct and literal approach. But that is not where Jesus is leading us. The complex and beautiful and difficult world in which we all reside is reflected in Jesus' method of teaching. We should respect that by not trying to simplify the beauty and complexity of Scripture.

Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved

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