Before someone else does the requisite Google search: yes, I’m aware that “theopoetics” is a pre-existing term, and as a field of endeavor has operated almost exclusively in ways that aren’t particularly amenable to conservatives. I just discovered that fact this morning, after independently coining the term to describe a conversation I was having. I mean it maybe a bit differently from the way it’s been meant up to this point, and I’m comfortable with that. What, exactly, I mean may be the subject for a future post. For now, the reflection itself, with many thanks to Jim and Michele for their part in shaping it.
The wicked devour God’s people as men eat bread.
From Jeremiah, we learn that God’s word is not just something that we should listen to and obey; it’s also something we should eat, and that gives us joy.
From John, we learn that Jesus is the Word made flesh. He gathers great crowds, miraculously feeds them bread, and then tells them the next day that unless they eat His flesh and drink His blood, they have no part with Him. Many follow Him no more, and the ones that do continue to follow Him don’t really understand it either.
Later, He gathers those faithful few to the Table and gives them bread and wine: “This is My body which is given for you….This is the new covenant in My blood which is poured out for you.” We who eat Christ’s body are what we eat: Christ’s Body.
The world hates us, because it hated Him, and as the world devoured our Savior, nailing Him to a cross, so the world will devour us as men eat bread. In this way, the world will once again play into God’s hands and be saved in spite of itself, because those who sow in tears will reap in joy, because the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church, because in God’s plan, death is the precursor to glorious resurrection — for the one who dies, and often for the one’s he’s dying for as well.
In a lesser way, this plays out in the life of the Church itself, every time you forgive someone, every time you lay down your life for someone. We die for them, that they might live, and in dying, we are (re)born to yet more abundant eternal life. The more life we have, the more we can lay down, and the more we can lay down, the greater the resurrection, in an ever-growing upward spiral of eternal life. Or in the language of Aslan: “Further up, and further in!”
I appreciate what connections you make in Scripture, with the dwindling of disciples in John 6, and the Last Supper. I heard taught on John 6 to interpret the harshness of Jesus’ words through the lens of John 6:63: ” My words are spirit and life.” In a natural sense, his message was symbolic; in a supernatural sense, his words carry spiritual power to quicken us to life… they perform exactly what he describe.
We are what we eat…
We partake of the Eucharist (Christ’s Body broken for us), we are the Eucharist. That’s profound.
Two things resonate from this post: the need of the Bride to identify/rely/feed/be shaped by Christ – to abide in Him to become who we truly are – and the reality that eternal, glorious life is attained in death to self; we are to be a spent people, a sacrificed people like our Savior if we are to be made in His likeness, and if we are going to reach the lost.
Thank you, Michael. Great point re. 6:63, and it seems like the ones who stay caught that, based on what Peter says in v. 68.
I was wondering on this, Tim… thanks for writing it. The wicked devour God’s people. Need to do some research on this angle.