Sharing Ourselves by Irene Ayallo

March 19, 2007 at 10:50 pm | Posted in Irene, The Way Home: Thursday, 15 March 2007 | Leave a comment

Irene Ayallo from Kenya and NZIt may have been confusing or even annoying for the listeners of Jesus in John 6:51-56 using a language they were very familiar with yet in a way they could not understand. They were familiar with the use of bread, flesh and blood and probably eaten or drunk of them but just as far as these were used in their world. Therefore when Jesus speaks of eating his body and drinking from his blood, he opens up a whole new world because for them ‘flesh’ was probably evil, corrupted, frail and carried with it a connotation of temporarily (at least from a dualistic perspective) while blood was a symbol of life. How then could God share and offer himself in this fragility? Hence they ask…. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”But I guess this is the sought of thing that happens when we encounter the world of another especially of the divine. We create new meanings of things we are familiar with so as to share into the world of the other yet remain in our worlds. Jesus listeners had to rethink of what ‘flesh’ and ‘blood’ meant if they were to understand and share in his world.In the world of sharing, ‘flesh’ comes to mean the human person in his/her totality and self. In feeding on the flesh and the body of Christ we get to share the totality and the self of Christ. It is reciprocal; Christ in his divinity shares and reveals himself in the human nature though not to be evaluated on that particular nature. Sharing opens up a space to experience the mystery of the other as we find our commonness, it becomes a humbling experience as we meet on a middle ground each time we encounter one another. It becomes a challenging experience as things that we are familiar with are questioned yet not removed from our worlds. Jesus reveals himself in flesh to encounter flesh; he does not change their being, their selves but adds something more that enables the divine and human to meet. When we totally share, our world never remains the same in each encounter.

How much then do we surrender to share in the otherness of the other whom we share so much in common in the unity of Christ? Is it a challenging, humbling and changing experience or we prefer to safely safeguard the world we are familiar with yet we often pray every time we come to the Lord’s table that;

“… we who share Christ’s body live with his risen life; we who drink his cup bring life to others; we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world…”

How then is this possible if we can not share ourselves with others?

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