The OT reading set for today from proverbs throws light not just on the meaning of the Eucharist as written in John and undergirds what is being said in Ephesians but for me throws light on the whole core message of Christianity. It is just a few verses so here it is......
Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her animals, she has mixed her wine, she has also set her table. She has sent out her serving girls, she calls from the highest places in the town, “You that are simple, turn in here!”. To those without sense she says, “Come eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Lay aside immaturity and live, and walk in the way of insight”.
That one little passage is dripping with so much relevant symbolism. We have lady wisdom, the female attribute of God, built on seven pillers . The significance of this is that In Hebrew numerology Seven is the Hebrew number of perfection. It is perfect or “complete” because it adds the number of God which is 3 to the number of the world which is 4. So 7 is Perfect meaning “complete” because it unites creation with the divine. As an aside, the reason there were only six water jars in John’s first sign in his gospel – the turning of water into wine is that 6 was incomplete – imperfect - and Jesus was squaring that circle.
There is sacrifice and there is the banquet of bread and wine, to which the weary and lost are all invited and is so reminiscent of the Eucharist . In this divine banquet you will find life – the life of the world I talked about last week – that fusion of divine source and divine creation – and through this revelation of the true nature of things you will find insight – which is enlightenment, lit by the eternal light – the light that enlightens every person as John writes in his prologue.
Seeing everything in that light, everything we previously thought was patently obvious about the world is suddenly illuminated and we see it as it really is. Insight is being able to discern the inner truth of things and situations. When the light of God is turned on – I AM the light of the world - when we see this light in all things shining back at us we may experience the peace of God. Peace with God, ourselves and each other.
Read with insight the entire message of Jesus we can see here is laid open for us written down centuries before Jesus was even born. What the early church perceived was that the wisdom that had been revealed in words to them became a wisdom discernable in a human life so that words became the word or wisdom made flesh.
The wisdom brought forth in Jesus’ life is the wisdom that lies within us all. The spirit – that spring that wells up to eternal life, as Jesus told the woman at the well, is the divinity within.
We are caught here because we are trapped by words and concepts that are inadequate, but “believing in Jesus” means (for me) believing in the Jesus way and seeing in Jesus the revelation of what is true for all of us, rather than worshipping a unique and innately different kind of being. He is showing us the way to the Father – the way to atonement and peace. In following his way – we too have it within us to find eternal life. As an aside it is a fact that Jesus never once asks anyone to worship him in the New testament but around 26 times Jesus asks that we follow him. Walk in his footsteps. Walk in the way.
It is a way of insight, characterised by wisdom and peace and the way it bears fruit in our lives is in both word and deed.