Today we honor the first of the last. The last time Jesus gathered with his friends. The last meal they shared together. The last bread broken and wine poured. The last time simple elements of grain and grape were just that. Grain and Grape. After today, they are forever sacrament. Forever holy.
In my mouth I can taste the bittersweet wine. This day that consecrates a sacrament that has restored me life. And exploded it. This sacrament that tastes like homecoming with an aftertaste of challenge.
This sacrament that I hold so dear; today I remember that for some this table has meant oppression.
I tear my clothes and wail at the violence done in the name of the One that feeds people from this table. The One who came as a Jew. Who lived as Jew. Who died as a Jew. The One who died so the world might live–His name now repurposed as a weapon. Today I remember that the One is not always in the buildings with steeples or those who wear crosses. Sometimes the One is in the camps surrounded by barbed wire.
“Where is God now?”
And I heard a voice within me answer him:
“Where is He? Here He is—He is hanging here on this gallows. . . .” (Elie Weisel, Night)
I break Bread of Life
Offering a small morsel of grace–
To empty hands
From work and weather,
Hands soft and small
From new life,
Hands firm and fixed,
Hands quivering and quaking.
All of them empty
All of them seeking
A bite of blessing
A blessing that doesn’t
Promise freedom from doubt or despair;
Or a platitude of
you’re never given more than you can handle
This small cube
This taste of grace
Whets the appetite
The really real
Bread of Life
Maundy Thursday I stood behind the table
Proclaiming the words of Jesus
Inviting all to come and eat
Promising all would be filled
We offer a meal where none will leave hungry or wanting
I held the broken loaf–
Its fresh sweet aroma
Tickled my nose and traveled to my core
Oh how I yearned to bury my face in the soft, yellow grain
To stuff myself on the bread of life
To gnaw at the loaf
To devour every morsel.
As the congregation filed forward
I tore pieces from the loaf
Not the small perfect squares
The white, stale cubes that were
served in the pew communion
of my childhood congregation
The crust always neatly removed
The cubes always perfectly even
Perfectly pristine Body of Christ.
What about those of us who are more crust than pristine cubes?
What about those of us who need more than a morselbut yearn for a mouthful?
Is the bread of life only the Body of Christ in perfect squares?
Is it any wonder I want to binge on an abundant grace that I thought only came in measure amounts?