The Church continues to celebrate the Octave of Easter on this Wednesday of Easter Week. Today we hear the story of Peter and James and the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, and then one of my most favorite passages, the appearance of Jesus on the road to Emmaus. The disciples asked themselves, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?" What a wonderful tribute to the power of Scritpure to point the way to the Word Incarnate! And then they the apostles back in Jerusalem told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
For me, some of my most intimate encounters with other people have been with food, while breaking bread together. This most basic act of human fellowship becomes, for us, the means of not only encountering each other, but the means to encounter the Risen Lord as well. I have been strongly attracted to and interested in the Eucharist ever since I was rather young. I think that's one reason I discerned a call to ordained ministry. It is such a privilege to say the prayer over the gifts on behalf of the assembled congregation. I hope it never becomes rote for either me as presider or for those who assemble in Jesus' name.
My "home" parish, the parish that supported in my discernment toward ministry, is Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis. They have always used and still use real bread at all Sunday Eucharists, and it was there I think I finally made some of the connections between the bread we break and the Body of Christ. I guess I was and slow to pick up the symbolism, but I've always found it easier to understand the blessed bread as the Body of Christ than to be understand a small round tasteless host as being bread! So this Eastertide at St. Thomas's we're using real bread. We're working on various recipes because the crumbs can get to be a bit much. If anyone knows of any good recipes that aren't too crumbly, please let me know!
Here is a particularly apt movement from Part I of The Messiah for today:
O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Christ is Risen!