Holy communion knocked me upside down and forced me to deal with the impossible reality of God. Then, as conversion continued, relentlessly challenging my assumptions about religion and politics and meaning, God forced me to deal with all kinds of other people. In large ways and small, I wrestled with Christianity; its grand promises and its petty demands, its temptations and hypocrisies and promises, its ugly history and often insufferable adherents. Faith for me didn’t provide a set of easy answers or certainties It raised more questions than I was ever comfortable with. The bits of my past- family, work, war, love – came apart as I stumbled into church, then reassembled, though the works communion inspired me to do, into a new life centered on feeding strangers: food and bodies, transformed. I wound up not in what church people like to call “a community of believers” – which tends to be code of “a like-minded club” – but in something huger and wilder than I had ever expected: the suffering, fractious, and unboundaried body of Christ.
Take This Bread
Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
Invite yourself to remember the first communion you can remember.
What specific things do you remember about experience of communion?
What hunger was satisfied?
What hunger was stirred?
What freedom did you experience?
What tension did you notice?
Remember a recent experience of communion.
What is similar and what has changed?
Give thanks to God for hunger, for being fed, and for the new things you received today.
13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. 15 When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Spend 5 to 15 minutes in silent meditation using your deep breathing to guide you.
Imagine that you are one of those following Jesus.
What have you seen Jesus cure?
Imagine that you have been invited for dinner.
Sit down on the grass.
Notice how Jesus blesses the fish and the loaves.
Eat your fill.
Notice who you are dining with.
What does if feel like to be filled with the food of Christ?
Watch the leftovers be collected.
What are your leftovers that are collected.
Give thanks to God for the food that fills and the leftovers for tomorrow.
Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 31 2011, the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Psalm 17:1-7, 15
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD.