Many of you know that I am a sourdough baker, and that I really enjoy feeding my sourdough plant and creating loaves of bread to share. I think the whole of Australia has rediscovered the joy and creativity of bread baking in these difficult times – because there’s not a packet of flour or yeast to be found anywhere! Bread and food are central themes in scripture, and the simple rituals of preparing and serving food are the deepest symbol of shared love across all cultures. In the Gospels, Jesus frequently got on the wrong side of the religious authorities because he chose to eat with all the wrong people, and his whole ministry engaged with people, food and bread. In the resurrection stories we find Jesus cooking bread and fish for the disciples on the beach and in today’s Gospel, the risen Jesus breaking bread with two grieving disciples. It’s in the very action of breaking bread that they recognise him.
Two disciples are walking home from Jerusalem after witnessing Jesus’ death, trying to make sense of what had just happened. Jesus, the one who had been their hope for real change in their world, and an end to their national troubles, was dead. All their hopes had disintegrated, and they had lost a friend and mentor. As they walk along the road, a stranger joins them, and this ‘stranger’ uses Scripture to help them put it all into context. When they arrive home, they invite this stranger who had made ‘their hearts burn within them’ to come in and share a meal. And as the stranger breaks bread with him, they know and recognise him,
This story helps us to understand the foundation of our Eucharist. In shared bread and wine, the risen Christ meets us. We look forward to the day when we can once again do this together, share bread and wine in community as we worship. But we look forward too, to the act of sharing a simple meal together in warm fellowship; food cooked with love and shared, because it is in these things that we also meet the risen Christ as we eat together. What a celebration it will be!
In peace, Mother Lynda