The Bread of Life

“I am the Bread of Life.” Jesus (John 6:35)

Bread of Life

In a recent hospital visit, one of the healthcare professionals asked me what I liked best about Holy Communion. I looked to the patient to make sure it was o.k. to proceed (actually, to gather my thoughts), and them muttered something about the holy mystery of God. What I said was true. Holy Communion is a great and wonderful mystery. But I was unsatisfied with my response, so I asked for a do over. Take two struck something inside of me that I’ve been wrestling with for some time. I said, “You know, I actually love communion because of the gathering of the people. I love the fact that at the Table, all are equal. People from all walks of life sharing a meal together.”

And it’s true. At Christ’s Table, barriers are broken down. There is no young and old, fat and skinny, rich and poor, smart and less smart. All are welcome, and everyone is equal. At the Table, as God’s children, we are sharing a meal with God’s family.

What if we could offer this same sense of radical hospitality in everything else that we do? At Casting Bread Food Pantry (a ministry of FaithBridge), we have started asking this question. And as a result, we are becoming increasingly aware of the barriers that exist between client/provider and us/them. After a recent visit to the Haywood Street Congregation, we realized that we could be doing more. And if the Table is the ultimate symbol of reconciliation, we figured that would be a good place to start.

So we launched the Bread of Life Service on Wednesdays at noon during the food pantry and soup kitchen hours. No one is required to come, because that would be coercive. But all are invited, and all are welcome. The service will look different from week-to-week, but one thing will remain constant: Holy Communion.

Phyllis Tickle says, “When I help to provide food, I want it to be food shared among us easily and frequently. I’m not out to save the world, just to be a part of it” (Emergence Christianity, 136).  And thus sums up the ethos of the Bread of Life service.  Everyone is welcome at the table.  Everyone.

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About Parson Carson

I am a husband, father, United Methodist pastor, Wolfpack fan, and outdoor enthusiast who loves meeting new people and hearing their stories... All while trying my best to love God and love others!
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16 Responses to The Bread of Life

  1. I love World Communion Sunday because it unites us around a world wide table. Communion is so Holy and important to me. I am thankful for this service and hope we will see fit to continue it. I hated missing last Sunday and today.

    As I am progressing with cardiopulmonary rehab it is presenting a tricky balance with what raises pain enough to put me out of commision for a while. There was no way I could do anything but rest and try to lower the pain. I

  2. I love World Communion Sunday because it unites us around a world wide table. Communion is so Holy and important to me. I am thankful for this service and hope we will see fit to continue it. I hated missing last Sunday and today

    As I am progressing with cardiopulmonary rehab it is presenting a tricky balance with what raises pain enough to put me out of commision for a while. There was no way I could do anything but rest and try to lower the pain. I am thankful that there is another opportunity to be with whoever God brings together and to share Holy Communion next Wednesday.

  3. carson132 says:

    This sounds like a great ministry, Ben. Sharing bread together opens the door for a closer relationship with God and with others. I like that everyone is invited to participate, even children! Growing up Baptist, only Christians, that had been baptized could participate in communion. We are all God’s children and the Methodist, “open table,” reveals that everyone is welcome. I think that we should always try to make everyone feel welcome, in every area of our lives. Isn’t that what Jesus would do?

  4. Patricia Gunn says:

    This is great and really spoke to me.I love the words “Bread of Life”. I hope to make it to your church one day soon!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  5. Thanks, Pat! We’d love to see you!

  6. Kathy Wooten says:

    Thank you Ben! Your life, your words,your gifts make me thank God for YOU. Love you

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  7. carterclan6@comcast.net says:

    Hey, Ben….please change our email address to wayneandjeanne41@gmail.com . After Thursday of this week, our comcast address will no longer be in use. Thanks! Jeanne

  8. sarahkathryncoley says:

    Miss you friend! Hope you are well!

    Sarah Kathryn Coley 336-337-5965

  9. Lou Weaks says:

    Ben, what a great reminder & expression of your perspective of “Gathering at the Table”.

  10. Pingback: The [joy] of Constant Communion | Parson Carson

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