Friday, August 14, 2015
For a brief time I shared a house with a woman who was very annoyed with the way I ate.
She complained that she could hear me.
And it bothered her. Big time.
No matter how quiet I tried to be…No matter how far apart we were in our shared abode…
No sooner than I had lifted the first forkful…
I would hear her cry out in complaint “I can hear you chewing!”
I’d like to think that she was just an exceptionally, um, sensitive person. And in many other ways that certainly seemed to be the case. Like I said, we were only roommates for a brief time.
But from that experience, I feel a certain affinity with a Greek word used repeatedly in this passage. “Trogo” meaning “to eat audibly.” Trogo. Just to say the word sounds like you are speaking with your mouth full. And for many, that noisy eating, that chomping and chewing, that lip smacking and slurping, is something beyond repulsive.
There are other Greek words meaning “to eat,” but it is this specific word that Jesus chooses to use repeatedly when describing what it is to take part in the life of faith through him, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood.”
This is not the polite noshing of a genteel dinner party. This is the voracious digging in of a famished teenager. Think wild dogs, not Downton Abby.
Jesus is speaking of the life of faith as eating his flesh and drinking his blood.
His word choice is meant to only heighten the repulsion of the crowd, and there is good reason for that.
Jesus is calling followers to a life of challenge and sacrifice. Jesus is commanding his disciples to stand out in the crowd, often to the revulsion of others. Jesus is promising the new life that comes only through death. Jesus is leading to the cross.
The life of faith is not for the squeamish—and now in John, Jesus is making that abundantly clear.