by Ken Rolheiser
Spirit and Life and the Word in us

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside Me. It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil… the other is good.”
“Which wolf will win?” the grandson asks.
The old Cherokee simply replies, “The one I feed.”

Which wolf do we feed? Too often it depends upon the pressures we find ourselves in and the circumstances. Theologians tell us that even when we sin, we may be innocent through ignorance. Do we really know how much God loves us? If we did, there would be easy choices.

Jesus said, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). Just before he said this, Jesus had said to the people: “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”

Many turned and left and stopped following Jesus. They did not understand. I hope that we stand with Peter who said, “To whom should we turn? You have the words of eternal life.”

For a better understanding we need to turn to the very beginning: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Jesus is the Word that became flesh. God became Man.

Even before the events of Holy Thursday the Word, the Bible, brought life. God’s words are Spirit. They charge the air, they move us, in our hearts and minds. If we let them, they carry us on our way towards the Kingdom of God. There is life in them.

Contrast that with our words! Sometimes our words bring confusion, anger and the spirit of death. Fortunately for us there is hope. Jesus said if we eat his flesh and drink his blood we will have life in us – his life. 

His words and his very life poured out for us are Spirit and they become our life when we receive them. The life of Christ in us sustains us through all of life’s trials. We are precious before God. 

Let me illustrate with a little story: A speaker held up a $20 bill to a crowd: “Who would like this $20 bill?” All hands went up. “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.” He crumpled the bill up.

He then asked, “Who still wants it?” All hands rose. “Well,” he replied, “What if I do this?” He dropped the bill on the ground and stomped on it with his shoes. Picking up the dirty bill he asked, “Now who still wants it?” All the hands went up.

“My friends, I have just illustrated a very important lesson. No matter what I did to the money… it did not decrease in value. Many times in our lives, life crumples us and grinds us into the dirt. We make bad choices and we feel worthless… but we will never lose our value. Don’t ever forget it!” (from Motivational Stories)

“For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

(547 words)