Thursday, August 01, 2013

Meditation XXXI -- Bread Of Life (4)

"It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life."

When I coached young people in soccer, one of the basics I tried to instill in them was to face the ball. This is a little different from the "keep your eye on the ball" mantra for baseball players. The latter has the player focus on what the ball is doing. The former asks the player to focus on what she or he is doing in response to the ball. It works on a simple concept: where the head goes, the body will follow.

One of the hardest things to teach young soccer players is what to do when they are not near the ball. Good players know where to go and how to react when they are not directly involved in the play. Poor players find themselves watching as other teammates score or as the other team scores from where they were supposed to be.

The roads of life are overflowing with the corpses of those who made their bodies not temples, but gods. But Jesus is not just talking about the body as center of the universe, but the body as conduit for eternal life. We cannot find peace with the body alone because we then limit our search parameters to what we see and hear (and how we perceive what we see and hear) at any given time. Our spirits, on the other hand, are not limited, no matter what shape our bodies are in.

Our fleshly bodies must be trained to face Jesus. His words are spirit and life. His life is our bread. Remember that Jesus told this crowd that their ancestors ate manna -- food handed to them directly by God -- and still died. We must train our gaze, not only our fleshly ears and eyes, on the living Christ. When we do, the body will follow.

Lord Almighty, giver of all good things, feeder of hungry souls, shine your Light on us, and turn our faces to you. Amen.

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