Year B Proper 15: some food for thought

“The Jews then disputed among themselves, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?'” (John 6:52)

Well, one can hardly blame them. In search of some answers, I came across these pearls of wisdom, which I offer for your own sermon fodder and food for thought:

The Holy Communion

O gratious Lord, how shal I know
Whether in these gifts thou bee so
As thou art evry-where; …

ffirst I am sure, whether bread stay
Or whether Bread doe fly away
Concerneth bread, not mee.
But that both thou and all thy traine
Bee there, to thy truth, and my gaine,
Concerneth mee and Thee. …

I could beleeue an Impanation
At the rate of an Incarnation,
If thou hadst dyde for Bread. …

That fflesh is there, mine eyes deny:
And what shold flesh but flesh discry,
The noblest sence of five? …

Into my soule this cannot pass:
fflesh (though exalted) keeps his grass
And cannot turn to soule.
Bodyes and Minds are different Spheres,
Nor can they change their bounds and meres,
But keep a constant Pole.

This gift of all gifts is the best,
Thy flesh the least that I request.
Thou took’st that pledg from mee:
Give me not that I had before,
Or give mee that, so I have more;
My God, give mee all Thee.

George Herbert*

And this, which might almost be a commentary on it:
“Let it there be sufficient for me presenting myself at the Lord’s table to know what there I receive from him, without searching or inquiring of the manner how Christ performeth his promise; let disputes and questions, enemies to piety, abatements of true devotions, … let them take their rest … what these elements are in themselves it skilleth not, it is enough that to me which take them they are the body and blood of Christ, his promise in witness hereof sufficeth, his word he knoweth which way to accomplish; why should any cogitation possess the mind of a faithful communicant but this, O my God, thou art true, O my soul thou art happy?”

Richard Hooker**

*Quoted from Love’s Redeeming Work: The Anglican Quest for Holiness, compiled by Geoffrey Rowell, Kenneth Stevenson and Rowan Williams (Oxford University Press, 2001), 171-2

** Quoted from Glorious Companions: Five Centuries of Anglican SPirituality, Richard Schmidt (Wm B. Eerdmans, 2002),31

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing (Upper Room Books, 2020). She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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