“It is written, ‘God gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ Then Jesus said, ‘I am the bread…’”—John 6:31-35
During a class on the sacraments, a student, Carol, told this story: After a snowstorm, only a few folks who lived within trudging distance made it to church, including Carol and her daughter, Melanie, who was four. The service was simple, a hymn, scripture, Communion.
Melanie had never received Communion, but she was there, and no one was stopping her, so she held out her hand. With everybody else in the reverent circle, she ate. Then she broke the hush:
“Mommy!” she cried, “This is the most deliciousbread!”
Adults overthink everything. Especially Communion. We divide into theological camps over it. We exclude people deemed morally, denominationally, doctrinally unfit. We bar little children until they’re capable of abstraction. We understand everything about bread except that you’re meant to eat it.
But Melanie tasted what we forget—before all else, communion is food, delectable Presence, Jesus’ sweet surrendered self. It is the most delicious Bread.
You don’t need to be grown-up or confirmed to know that something tastes good; to savor a grace of exceptional flavor; to sense that this is a mercy and no ordinary thing; to be surprised at it, grateful; to cry out, delighted. You need only be there, extending your hand. You need only eat.
And so, by the way, if communion isn’t delicious in your church, if it’s gummy Wonder white or sawdust gluten-free, why not replace it with something less disagreeable? It’s hard to believe you’re at heaven’s feast when the meal tastes like cardboard and glue. When choosing an edible sign that Christ is truly with us, always go for flavor. Do not disappoint Melanie.
And don’t disappoint the world that needs us, who eat the bread, to be more than a thin starchy presence for the hunger of bodies and souls. That needs us, who drink the cup, to spill out onto its thirst a love more generous than a thimble cup. That needs us, who have known the meal’s delight, to be delicious.
THE MOST DELICIOUS BREAD
Words: Mary Luti
Tune: FOREST GREEN
O Christ, you knead your love for us
in most delicious bread,
with milk and honey, yeast and salt,
the tastes of heaven wed;
and even little ones enjoy
the flavor of your wheat
and join the circle of your guests
at mercy’s welcome seat.
Communion’s mystery is deep,
there’s much to learn and teach,
but knowledge cannot satisfy
and theories cannot reach
the cravings of a hungry heart
for most delicious bread,
the warm and fragrant gift of you
at heaven’s lavish spread.
Make us, like you, a honeyed loaf
to answer hunger’s cry.
The hope of people everywhere
knead us to satisfy.
No ordinary gift we’ll give,
as justly all are fed,
but pure delight, uncommon love:
the most delicious bread.
Alternate tunes: SALVATION, FIDUCIA (Robinson), KINGSFOLD