This post is part of an ongoing blog series on Pomomusings entitled “(Re)Imagining Christianity.” To read about the series, as well as get a full schedule of participants, click here.
What is one belief, practice or element of Christianity that we must hold onto and live out more fully so that Christianity can move forward and truly impact the world in the next 100 years?
If the church is going to impact the world in the next 100 years, Christians must keep reaching for the bread.
I suppose that begs for an explanation.
Last week was Communion Sunday, Palm Sunday, and April Fools Day all rolled into one, an alignment of the stars that was almost too perfect for words. This fool was not preaching the grown-up sermon, but I did have the privilege of serving as Master of Ceremonies for the children’s sermon. I say that only slightly tongue in cheek. These kids are outrageously charming. They have no shortage of ideas to share. If I ask a question, it takes everything I’ve got to reign us back in again. So while I was listening to all sorts of details about their favorite parades, some movement off to the side caught my attention.
The communion table had been set all morning, ready and waiting for the joyful feast of the people of God. A plate full of freshly baked bread was in the direct line of sight from where the children gathered on the steps. And sure enough, the action that caught my attention was one of our preschool-aged boys walking up to the table and reaching for the bread. His hands were fractions of millimeters away from their destination when an adult intervened and brought him back to the steps. The bread was protected. The boy was bummed.
I confess that for the briefest of moments, I too changed direction, intending to head off any communion faux-pas. But in the three-and-a-half steps it took me to make it that far, I realized that I was looking at the entire church in that moment. All of us, most of us hungrier than we even realize, are reaching for something when we come through those doors Sunday morning. We’re longing for something outside of ourselves, aren’t we? Even if we can’t name what it is, we must be. Otherwise, the temptation to sleep in and linger over brunch is far too tempting.
Far too often, the world gets in our way. Far too often, we get in our own way. Far, far too often, we get in someone else’s way. After the children’s sermon, when the kids all headed back to their seats, that same boy stepped back up to the table. He looked at the bread again, and thank God he reached out his hands one more time.
“Do you want to hold the bread?” I asked him, but his shyness got the better of him, and he hurried back to his mother.
We must keep reaching for the bread. Over and over, no matter how many times it takes. We must keep reaching for the bread, and we sure better share it once we’ve got it. There are simply too many hurts to be healed, too many injustices to be righted, too many prayers to be said, too many hungers to be filled, too many tears to be dried, for us to keep our hands to ourselves any longer.
The kingdom of God is at hand. The bread of life is all around us. Sometimes I worry that we’re waiting around, a little bit too “decently and in order,” a little bit too content for the ushers to invite us forward at the appointed time and not one moment sooner.
My prayer for us all is that we’ll be a little bit more like that little boy, taking matters into our own (spirit-filled) hands. “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” the psalmist invites us. What are we waiting for?
Jenny McDevitt: Jenny is a pastor in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Yes, this means she lives about five minutes from the beach. (Hey, someone’s gotta do it.) She runs slowly, reads just about anything, and cooks as little as possible.