“In the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying; ‘Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.’ Again after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me.'” (ELW; Holy Communion, Setting Two, P. 130)
Gathered in the basement community room, my new friends and I are sprawled out on the couches and chairs watching the movie Chocolat. A chocolate birthday cake sits on the table behind one of the couches. The smell of that sweet cake wafts into my friends Mike and Mark’s noses as we watch the movie. Soon the credits roll and the movie ends.
After the movie, it’s time to cut into the cake (my own birthday cake bought by me because I’ve only known these friends for a few hours now) One of my new friends suggests that we eat the cake like a pig….meaning with our hands. Before we know it, our hands are diving into the cake squishing and squeezing the crumbs of the cake into our hands and then into our mouths. Laughter erupts as we finish the cake. I’m practically rolling on the floor laughing.
That cake taught me so much about community and relationships and being surrounded by God’s people because that cake broke the ice as my friends and I got to know each other. God calls us to gather at the table; to break bread with brothers and sisters in Christ. For in breaking bread together, through the food set on the table, the Word is made flesh through that meal and through that gathered community.
This summer, my friends JL, AD and I broke bread together many times while in New Orleans. We sat at a hotel restaurant one evening after listening to the sweet sounds of Jazz at Preservation Hall and broke bread over wine and fresh seafood. Another day, we woke up before the sun rose and found our way to Daisy Dukes for breakfast. Throughout the week, I found myself breaking bread many many times with friends; old and new.
And there have been so many other instances too where I’ve broken bread with my friends and family. I met my blog friend CM in real life as we broke bread at a beloved NOLA restaurant. A year ago, my friends JA, TM and I met and broke bread over a shared meal together. My friend JD and I broke bread with strangers at a restaurant that serves family style.
The thing is that, all throughout our lives, God blesses those relationships and at the holy tables where we are called to gather and break bread together. Like God provided food for the 5000 gathered with loaves and fishes, God provides for us too through food.
And through food, a visible sign of nourishment, the Word is made flesh. The Word is made flesh through the hands that prepare it. The Word is made flesh through the food set before us. The Word is made flesh through the ways we experience food in new ways. The Word is made flesh in all the ways we gather in community and break bread at the holy table.
I hope someday we all can gather, break bread and share in the Word made flesh through the food set before us.