by Amanda Watson
“We send you forth bearing these holy gifts that those to whom you go may share with us in the communion of Christ’s body and blood. We who are many are one body because we share one bread and one cup.”
These are the words that we would say to send our Eucharistic Ministers into the homes of those who are physically unable to come to the table with us--to remind them they too are at the table because we bring the table to them.
And yet daily we are bombarded with loud clanging gongs of shouting and yelling; spewing hate and fear; demanding I win, you lose and I am more, you are less and I am right, you are wrong. Allowing and accepting the pervasiveness of this chaos, we begin to acknowledge the existence of this divisiveness and conflict in our everyday conversations by asking why are we so divided, why can’t we understand each other? Perhaps we are asking the wrong question. Perhaps we should be asking, “Did I invite others to the table?” Did I say, “sit with me at our table?” Or more importantly, “may I sit at your table?” Did I invite the others to share our bread--not my bread or their bread but OUR bread? Did I say we break bread together in remembrance, in remembrance of Jesus the Messiah, the one who taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves?
When we sit at the same table and share the same bread, our conversations become conversations between equals. Equality brings respect, in which not only do we listen but we hear. I am reading the book, The Content of Our Character by Shelby Steele in which he states the early civil rights movement proposed the better way to change the world because it based civil rights on the equality of all people--God created all people equally. Equality does not necessarily mean the same. Each of us are given gifts, some gifts greater than others, but all gifts are to be used for the same purpose; to obey God, love our neighbor and further the Kingdom of God. Each of us is uniquely created, yet each is necessary to complete the whole, creating differences which both enrich and complete the whole rather than damage, separate and diminish. These God created differences enrich the taste of the bread, become leaven allowing the bread to grow and sustain those who partake. Equality means there are no longer walls that divide only tables set ready to invite. Let us break bread together; let us sit with tax collectors and prostitutes, the lost and the lonely, friends and enemies
Let us be one body.