I was challenged to write a poem about communion. I based it on the gospel of John (John 6), where Jesus had fed the 5,000, walked on the water and healed the sick, but still they asked for a sign. When He said “I AM the Bread that came down from heaven”, many of his followers left him, saying “This is a hard teaching.”

This is my response:

Often as I read the gospel accounts
A veil of familiarity dims my eyes
And the stories that they there recount
Seem commonplace and of no surprise.

Then suddenly, in awestruck wonder
The veil is lifted and there I see
Radical love of unfathomable depths
Knocking, calling and inviting me.

The things you did that blow my mind –
And challenged customs of the day –
Were downright bold, if truth be told
But to the father’s heart you showed the way.

You healed the sick and cured the lame
Proclaiming the Kingdom of God is near
And you commissioned your followers to do the same
Forgiven, loved and released from fear.

You taught us love, You washed our feet
You redefined what it meant to serve,
Untouchables, sinners, You graciously greet
With transforming dignity undeserved.
You fed your people miraculously with bread
You turned their water into wine
Yet more and more demands they made
And constantly begged for another sign

But miracles don’t satisfy our hunger for God
Contrary always to popular thought
Only a personal relationship with You, for
“I am the bread of life” You taught .

Your words, “I AM”, Your deity exposed
and scandalised the sceptic band
to eat your flesh and drink your blood
was more than they could understand.

Yet, Word of God, in flesh you came
A perfect, pure and holy life
For hopeless folk in sin and shame
To set us free from guilt and strife.

The debt man owed, only You could pay
So your flesh was beaten, your hands were pierced
There wasn’t any other way
Your blood You gave in sacrifice.

You ask me only to believe
In your finished work upon that cross
And your grace and mercy to receive
As You restore all that was lost.

So your body was broken and your blood was shed
To bring us wholeness and make us free
To bring forgiveness and eternal life
Your mercy and great love did all this for me.

So I eat your flesh and drink your blood
And remember Your miraculous gift to me
For everything You give is good
And only You can set me free.

Thank You, Jesus.

Communion cup and bread with crown of thorns in background