Some thoughts after reading John 6:56-69 by Rev. Crystal Karr
I remember being excited by Kelly Brown Douglas’ assertion that Christ is not only black but a black woman (The Black Christ). As I embraced this idea my professor asked us to consider the dangers in such an assertion. If Christ was a black woman s/he would be yet another abused black woman subjected to physical and sexual abuse and somehow this would further justify the continuing abuse of black women—as though the cross would be justification for continuing to abuse black women everywhere. The cross would warrant that salvation is found in abusing black women everywhere.
In a week in which the legitimacy of rape has been news fodder that has revictimized some and enraged others, I can’t help but read of Jesus being the bread of life, thinking of the cross and wondering how Jesus was not a black woman beaten and abused, raped, and left for dead.
We live in a world in which we take endlessly; we do the same with women as we do with scriptures, with the Christ. We take without asking, without caring about consent. There are two ways of communion—taking and receiving. Do you approach the bread of life with hands open, waiting to receive this gift and ingest it, let it becoming a part of you so that your only response is to follow where the Christ leads? Or do you walk up and take it for yourself, ripping your portion from the bread, now empowered to go out into the world with your bit of Christ to keep you strong? While I know this is not exactly fair to picture as these two ways but in this week that disputes the violence of some rapes over others—I cannot fathom that taking communion is right and proper.
The violence of the cross was not redemptive in and of itself. The violence of the cross whether enacted upon a white male Jesus, a black female Jesus, a brown crippled Jesus, or a yellow girl-child Jesus, or a red transgendered Jesus, or any Jesus was the failing of the world, the darkness that attempted to overcome the world but could not. It does not justify our continuing violence, our continuing raping of flesh and blood, our continuing raping of the earth. The flesh and blood of everlasting life, the light that could not be overcome is to be ingested, taken in, and empowered to shine from deep within us, altering us to resist the darkness and violence, to rise against it and to go a new way. Ingesting this gift of Christ’s body means making his/her life our own which raises us out of the pit of despair, moves us beyond the pain and gives us hope not merely for new life after our physical death but for strength and life in the face of the violence of this world, so that we will not be overcome but live. As our Christ, we too live not only for ourselves but for others, to heal and love and live a new way.