This morning I baked the bread for Advent's evening Eucharist. The recipe was simple—flour, water, salt, but the process was complicated. I weighed the ingredients with my baker's scale and mixed them together. I kneaded the dough, pre-shaped it, actually shaped it, and plopped it in the dutch oven.
I worked myself up over the details all afternoon. Was the round firm enough? The scoring deep enough? Should I just go buy a loaf from Whole Foods and pretend I baked it myself? I left for church half-high on adrenaline and anxiety, with the sourdough loaf wrapped in a dishcloth in my bag. On the way the thought came to me: I'm carrying the body of Christ in my Trader Joe's bag.
Christians consider the bread of communion to symbolize Christ. As Luke records the Last Supper, "And He took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me'" (Lk 22:19).
I know churches have different perspectives on whether the communion bread is symbolically or literally Christ's body, and when the bread becomes sacred—something to be handled with reverence instead of something stowed in tote bag. My friend Dawn said, "It's okay, because they hadn't blessed it yet."
Regardless, bread is an image of Christ. Jesus said in John, "I am the bread of life" (Jn 6:35). And in a sense, in carrying the bread, I was carrying Jesus with me to our church to be nourishment for all who come to the table.
If you love me, Jesus said to Peter, feed my sheep (Jn 21:17). As believers and disciples, this is our call, too. To share the bread of Christ with each other and with all who ache with the pain of hunger—physical and spiritual.
In middle school, I put this quote on my AIM profile, "Always act like you're wearing an invisible tiara." This may sound irreverently silly, but I mean this truly: "Always act like you're carrying an invisible Trader Joe's tote bag with the body of Christ, the fulfillment of all our deepest needs, inside." What if I truly considered, who around me is starving for Him? With whom can I share His life?