“When we break bread and give it to each other,
fear vanishes and God becomes very close.”
— Henri J.M. Nouwen
Today is Holy Thursday according to the Christian Church. It is the day of the Last supper where Jesus sat with his disciples and broke bread, shared wine and told them (and through them all of humanity) that when they do this symbolic act in the future, they do it in remembrance of him.
I love ritual and symbolism and this beautiful act really speaks to me and at times makes me feel very emotional. I read Mathew Fox’s meditation today where he referenced a Buddhist Monk and teacher I have followed for a while, Thich Naht Hanh, who spoke about the Cosmic Christ and how within the bread is the sky, the earth, the sun - Ultimately all of creation. Take a moment to think about all the process and all the people involved in making bread. From the photosynthesis that occurred in the wheat that was planted in the earth, exposed to water and sunlight and later used to make the bread. All of life - in one substance.
Just before I left South Africa, I attended a Lent course all about the Eucharist and this concept of the bread being symbolic of all life, was discussed in one of the lessons on the Eucharistic prayers. Jesus Christ here is like a bridge between us and God the father. Within him is all of creation and all of God, made visible. When we accept the bread and break it, especially when shared with family and friends, we are sharing in the holiest of acts. We are asserting our own connection to each other and All that is. It is a positive ritual of belonging and assertion of inter-connectedness. Through this act we also see the concept of the bridge again - connecting past, present and future. Of a love that spans all of time. It is our connection to the eternal.
I have arranged a mini-feast for our family dinner tonight, in honor of the Last Supper. I managed to get a ciabatta and some good red wine to go with it. There are no more church services to attend, no more Eucharists being done at this time of self-isolation, but one does need to have a priest and a congregation to break bread and remember. All you need is a willing heart, and some bread, to give thanks.
Accept our praises, heavenly Father,
through your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ,
and as we follow his example and obey his command,
grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit
these gifts of bread and wine
may be to us his body and his blood;
who, in the same night that he was betrayed,
took bread and gave you thanks;
he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:
Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.
- Eucharistic Prayer A,Church of England prayer book.
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash