Holy Thursday 2021 - Women With Him: A Feminist Celebration of Easter

Thursday, April 1, 2021

 



Broken Bread


I'm mixing dough when he enters: The dust on his hem indistinguishable
from the flour sprinkled across the counter.

He's usually like this—coming and going
Staying all the night long.
But tonight, silence
instead of stories.

A somber air about him
Reminds me that for all his holiness,
Humanness can wear like an ill-fitting sackcloth
He's come to buy bread to break
and I care for him in the only way I know how:
by caring for the dough.

Watching me add oil and water, I can feel the heat
of his presence (does melancholy always feel this warm?)
though I know it's the fired oven.

We sit quiet, the night is still.
The dough rests.

On his way out, I can feel the weight of his body before me
and held in my hands
a loaf of bread
in remembrance of him.


Sermon


It seems the last supper was one of sorrow, and yet I find it comforting that Jesus chose to break bread with, wash the feet of, and pray for those he loved one last time together.

 I enjoy imagining Jesus this way--at the table--a place where so many of us, too, have passed the time. But our time at the table often looks different, like a rushed appointment on a busy schedule. Yet for the Lord, this mealtime was a sacred, sorrowful goodbye.

Though it is called the Last Supper, this is the first mealtime that was about so much more than food. In fact, the Lord knew it was never really about the food, but about providing us a tangible way to remember.

Remember that the hands that bake the bread and press the wine make it possible for hands to pass it. Remember that those passing hands of people at the table or on the pews are our neighbors and friends. Still most importantly, remember that we are able to move through this life tasting the sweet and the bitter because of Jesus the Christ. And that if we were to just slow down and savor, perhaps we could feel his love fill us with each bite and breath.



This image of Jesus at the table eating and drinking in unity with his disciples is deeply contrasted with his time in the garden of Gethsemane.

Though the disciples followed him, none were with him. Jesus, once surrounded by a community willing to listen, learn, and sustain him at the table, was left sorely alone as the disciples slept. "Could ye not watch with me one hour?"

The sacrament cup of remembrance was replaced with the bitter cup of suffering causing Jesus to cry out, "My God, my god, why has thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me?" (Psalms 22)

The water that washed feet was now blood that dripped like rain down the body of the one who would son be called our Savior--the one who rescues, saves, and delivers.

And this is really the heart of the story. That though we want to identify with Jesus here, we are actually the disciples. We are the ones who hurt and betray the ones we love, even when we sit and share a meal with them. We are the ones who hear the plea, and still cannot stay awake to suffering. Yet, for all the ways we do and will repeatedly fall short, Jesus would still choose to invite us to dinner. He would still invite us to the garden, walking with us along the way. Which makes the name Savior, taste all the more sweet.

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