Bread of Heaven

For at least four reasons that I can think of off of the top of my head, using bready bread – leavened bread – yeast bread – for eucharist is a matter of some importance for me.  I don’t have time to get into that today, but hopefully in a later post.  The point is, I have been generally opposed to wafers as the “bread” element for a long time now.

After some unreasonable hoping that the Episcopal church I was visiting this morning would run contrary to type, and that the rector would somehow produce a full loaf of challah from the sleeve of her robe, I found myself watching her lift up the large round wafer and thinking to myself, “this could be a deal-breaker.”

I have spent some time now not particularly expecting God to show up in worship, so that might be what opened me to be so thoughtlessly cheeky about the sacrament.  Or perhaps God has just become that small to me that I thought I could predict or even dictate when and where I might feel God’s presence.  Or maybe I am just an ordinary broken human being who, like anyone else, is riddled with hubris.

At the rail, I could not wait to get the wafer into my mouth, to let it melt there and to think about Christ and the medieval desire to honor him by making sure that not a crumb of his body might be lost between the floorboards.  When a priest came around with the cup and saw that my upturned hands were empty, he began to tip the cup towards me, and I drank – perhaps for only the second or third time.  “The cup which we share…” The wine, so unfamiliar at the feast to this Methodist, burst on my palate as if welcoming me home to a place I had never seen – a foretaste of the kingdom, a reminder of the already and the not yet that is this time between the times.  I leapt back from the rail and managed to make my unsteady way back to my seat; thought of pulling out a kneeler, but didn’t know whether it was allowed at this point in the service.  And then I burst into tears as I felt God clearly articulate to me, “Did you think that I could not show up for you here?”

After a couple of words to the rector, I decanted myself some decaf and made my way to the car where I cried and texted my husband and cried some more.  I felt so unworthy, so impossibly beyond redemption.  And at the same time, so near to God – reminded that my second greatest sin (after the first of thinking I no longer need to be redeemed) is the idea that I cannot be.

Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more.

3 responses

  1. Oscar Romero (in “The Violence of Love”) said: “God is not failing us when we don’t feel his presence. God exists, and he exists even more, the farther you feel from him. When you feel the anguished desire for God to come near because you don’t feel him present, then God is very close to your anguish. God is always our Father and never forsakes us, and we are closer to him than we think.”
    (Blessings and Peace, Sarah)

  2. P.S. I just realized that throwing that Romero quote up there might come off kind-of teach-y. Rather, I should have prefaced it by saying: This is something that has helped me in those seasons when I’ve felt much the way you describe in this blog post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s