In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus says, "The bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." His hearers were understandably confused. They complained that no man can literally give his flesh as food for the world. But Jesus did not yield to their confusion. Instead, he pushed even further: "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood [a deeply offensive thing to say to Jews, with their ritual rejection of consuming blood] you have no life in you…My flesh is real food, my blood is real drink. He who eats this bread will live forever." Our relationship to God is not simply an agreement for getting our prayers answered and our needs supplied, he said. Neither is it a matter of obeying some rules to gain approval or of reciting some past confessions to get into heaven. Rather, it is receiving him as we receive food and drink, taking him into the depths of ourselves, so that he becomes as much a part of us as food and drink become a part of our bodies. But while food and drink pass through, he "abides with us" and we "abide with him." He is "living bread," bread that does not pass away but continues to give life afresh and anew. Receiving this bread, we will live forever. For that is his gift: life eternal. The hard words thus hide a gracious promise. Jesus breaks down our every attempt to gain life for ourselves, insisting that he alone can give true life. But having broken us of the notion that we can obtain life for ourselves, he not only gives us life but makes it life eternal. The Supper is not and never has been a one-to-one meeting of the communicant and God, mediated by a pastor. It is a feast of togetherness, a time to be particularly conscious of the rest of the church (the whole church on earth!) because in communing we celebrate the fact that God in Christ makes us one. We are saved together not by the quality or quantity of our faith, but by grace which unites us together in unstinted acceptance.