Communion in these parts tends to be celebrated with Wonder Bread and a bitter sweet wine (or if you’re lucky a grape cocktail). Jesus is cubed and placed on nice trays. The liquid is poured into tiny cups. It’s a process. It’s a system. It’s how it’s always been done.
The problem I have with this is that Jesus is not sweet wine, grape cocktail or Wonder Bread to me. Jesus does not leave a bitter taste in your mouth. Jesus is not foam that dissolves the instant it is placed on your tongue. Jesus is an artisan bread. Jesus is special vintage wine or Welch’s grape juice. Jesus is the best of the best. Jesus is texture. Jesus is body. Jesus is.
Our Wonder Bread Jesus is troubling. Our desire to cut and cube, to keep things orderly, to have Jesus cut perfectly so we all get the same experience. Jesus is so much more than this. Jesus is the misshapen loaf that was lovingly created in the early morning by a baker who lives for baking. The bread that is crafted for nourishment and enjoyment. Each piece is filled with body and texture that we savor. This bread is meant to be ripped apart and devoured with your hands while still hot. Like this bread, Jesus is filled with life and soul. Jesus is an experience you remember. Jesus is something you want to experience over and over again.
How many of us would miss Wonder Bread Jesus?
Lately I’ve begun to wonder this. This tradition and ritual seems lost on some people. As I stand behind the table reciting the words that have been passed down for generations, I hear the conversations that take place in the sanctuary. I also hear phones clicking and people moving. As I move through the experience I have to wonder if they would miss this moment if it weren’t happening? Do they understand what we are doing? Are they really connected in the communion of the body of Christ? Do they even know what that phrase means?
I find myself imagining a different way. I drift towards an image of family style communion held around a table or two. Where people gather together in a room or in a hall and celebrate the feast of our Lord as a true feast. What if loaves were passed and cut and enjoyed. What if jugs of wine and juice were found on tables and people filled their cups and celebrated community. The feast would be blessed. The Lord would be invited into the gathering. It would be a celebration. There would be a time of sharing so that people would know what this moment was about. They would learn what the ritual truly means. They would become part of the experience. It would be a living moment of faith. I think we need to work towards more living moments of faith.
Would you miss the Wonder Bread Jesus?