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Archive for April 1st, 2021

St. John 6: 51: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

When terribly sick, a person needs strong medicine, even a simple infection and a patient is told by the doctor to finish the antibiotic medication, even though the infection is gone. Seems like overkill, as in cancer treatments.  Strong medicine.

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ! (Ephesians 4: 17-20)

We need strong medicine. One of the unholy trinities is the world, the flesh and the devil.  A world given over to “sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity” and sensuality and impurity is paraded every day from internet porn to television shows to news reports on the results of sensuality and impurity:  idolatrous worship, profanity, not worshiping, lust and std’s, murder, greed, envy, slander. We no longer legally sell human flesh, thank the Lord, but it is still sold and bought legally in the market places of wickedness as we have heard that human body parts of aborted babies are ‘harvested’ and  sold in the marketplaces of death;  child slavery for prostitution and child trafficking.  There is still sanctioned slavery in many parts of the world. Christ came in the flesh to save us from our flesh. The Lord sent the strongest medicine that a sick world and men and women needs and could ever want on its own: the flesh and blood of the Father’s only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, God’s flesh:.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1: 14).  So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. With no sin in His flesh, nor His soul, the eternal Word cures us flesh and blood. In His flesh and body shines forth, “full of grace and truth”, His salvation for us all.  Now we cannot get more specific as to place and time, and now in Person, as the Incarnation, Christ’s flesh and blood.  His flesh alone has cured the fever and cancer of sin in body and soul.  He has given His flesh upon the Cross, the Lamb of God bearing the sin of the world to make us His.  Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. No longer to be giving into the flesh day in and day out, but walk in the Holy Spirit, no longer tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, and make no provision for the flesh.

The Cross kills us in Christ’s flesh, as the flesh is death, the risen Lord makes alive and will, He made us alive spiritually, and will physically.  “…and I will raise him up on the last day”.   

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34: 18)

Not only is the world so darkened by the flesh turned in upon itself, but the world is always calling it new, selling it as new, but it is actually worn out, worse for wear. For all man’s ingenuity, there are no new sins, just sins dressed up as light and goodness. Sin is deceitful lusts. It is false advertising. Yet there are always in the Lord new ways of loving. New ways of washing each other’s feet.  Put on the new self, baptized  and cleansed. And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.  No longer wrapped up in our selves, but wrapped up in Jesus Christ and His forgiveness, walking in the Holy Spirit, with God the Father, one God as He has made you His own. 

And the new man serves as Jesus did.  This picture is probably of an Ethiopian icon. Slapping his head, Peter is gobsmacked. The Son of the living God is doing a slave’s work. Another disciple with his hand over his mouth, sounds like could be saying, Oh my.  Looked at,  Christmas, Easter and Pentecost is for the purpose  that we are gobsmacked by the wonder of His life. Oh, my. God serves…me, a sinner…before He dies, and when He dies, and He rises that I may too, even today. Gobsmack someone in service as Christ does.

Beloved in the Lord!   The Lord cannot get any closer than flesh and blood, the Bread of life, Christ’s flesh and blood.  “God is the God of the humble, the miserable, the afflicted, the oppressed, the desperate and those who have been brought to nothing” (Luther) “For I will admit that Christ is wiser than my reason or I am. Give honor to Him who is speaking here, and let Him be wiser than you.”  Christ is the Bread of Life, feeding us Himself, every Word from the mouth of God.  The Lord knows how to reveal Himself.  Without the Bread of Life, we’re toast. He is the living bread.  Bread eventually grows stale, but God’s love in Christ never grows old and gets worn out.   One of the selling points on bread these days, “no artificial ingredients”, that is, nothing man-made, but what God has given, His Son. This is no April fools.  There is nothing artificial in the Christ, the Bread of life, nothing man-made, pure flesh, made by God, pure God, very God from very God.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (Psalm 34: 8)

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About Maundy (Holy) Thursday:  “Maundy” is derived from the Latin “mandatum”, or commandment (as in “mandate”).  On this 1st of the 3 days of our salvation, Triduum, the Lord Jesus gave 2 commandments:

1.  When He washed His disciples’ feet He said, A new commandment that you love one another.  The sense of the Greek is that the new commandment is SO THAT you love another, which means the new commandment is to wash each other’s feet.  IN that way we love each other and show forth His love to all.  

2. When He broke the bread and gave the Cup, He gave us His body and blood with the words, “Do this”.  The Holy Communion is not optional, but a command.  In Jewish tradition the 2 candles on the dining table represent:  Command and Remembrance.  Yes! “Do this, in remembrance of Me.”  As we are to serve one another the Lord serves us His Body and Blood till He comes again in glory.  His Church is called to serve the Dinner:  The Holy Communion(also called  the Lord’s Supper and the Mass) and serve one another. In St. Luke’s reportage of this holy evening and giving of the Holy Communion (chapter 23), he tells us this:


“24 A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 And (Jesus) said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.27 For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” 

He is still with us as One Who serves as He is risen! The two sets of readings for this holy day are about the vertical and horizontal dimension of the Holy Communion of the Church:  kneeling to receive the Sacrament of the Altar and kneeling to wash each other’s feet. In many of the icons of the Lord washing Peter’s feet, Peter has his hand to his forehead as if he saying, “Oh, my!”.  We might say, I’ll kneel to no man! I’m too proud and yet when I am sick or down, I am so glad when a friend in Christ is there to serve me in knelt-felt Christ-like love. Here is the Lord who knelt to all men to save us from ourselves lost in sin and death. This is the Lord God who knelt to wash His disciples’ feet, His creatures’ feet.  The Lord who knelt to feed us His Body and Blood. The Lord who knelt in prayer. Can we do any less? He calls us to Himself as His kneeling Church.

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