I could let those three pieces of bread–the realness of them fixed in my mind, the material presence of them now gone–stand alone. They are sufficient to say it all . . . to speak volumes, my story and yours.
It is one story. His-story top story breaking story multi-story. Sometimes toy story.
Story book. Picture book.
Picture this: Picture Perfect. Perfect picture. Take a picture.
I did: Those are the actual pieces of bread, and I found them just in time. Just. And in time. Last Sunday morning, I walked alone down the aisle to that seat that I haunt, and there I found those three pieces of bread, three points with space in between.
The image is enough for a certain kind of visual learner. If so, then I am pleased to meet you. Look at the bread behind those Waugh Paper words. They appear precisely as I found them. Now, see those three pieces in a line on a wooden church pew. On the smooth, close-grained wood. They are resting on the flat surface of the hand rail at the left end of the padded pew, the third one from the front, just off center to the left (stage right). Close your eyes and see more. It is all there.
If you are primarily an auditory learner, hear the band at the front of the church, quietly tuning and going over last minute set changes. Hear the muted voices of a few dozen, soon to be hundreds, who have come to this place to worship, and more. They are talking of myriad things. How are you how was your week good to see you that’s a nice dress. You smell good where have you been do you always come to this service? I thought I’d find you here you always sit in this pew, don’t you? Yes, I do. On the left end of the third one from the front, just off center to the left. I live there too, I am thinking, off-center and to the left. Much farther left. But I don’t say that. Attune your ears and listen very closely to the sound of the bread, the faintest brush of sound as each piece is picked up. Bread slides across wood, then each piece swishes in the air, and there’s a slight grinding against the flesh of fingers, hand. Each piece, uniquely shaped, made a once-only-ever, never-repeated sound as it went through that one time and in that one space from pew to my hand. It was barely perceptible, yet it was a micro-sound of one substance encountering another. Mixture, molecule, atom, beyond and beneath into the quantum field and the undercurrent in the realm of the Spirit . . .
If you are a read/write learner, then just keep reading. I will keep writing.
If you are a mostly kinesthetic learner, pick up the bread. Expect a crunchiness; they must be leftovers, right? But the bread is fresh! You find a soft, al tocco (to the touch) texture. Delightful. It is 8:53 a.m. on a Sunday morning, before the first service, and all of the communion bread has just been placed at the front. Except for these three pieces. They feel exactly as they are: placed here minutes ago. By whom and how, and even why? I have no idea; it is a mystery I will always treasure. Smell the simple mix of flour, water, oil, and a touch of salt. And shame on us, there has to be yeast or another rising agent in this bread. It is supposed to be unleavened, un-risen bread. We leave the rising to the Christ, and then in communion we too are renewed in a kind of resurrection uprising ourselves. But, whatever. We work with what we find, and we find this bread just Goldilocks right.
The Bread of Life. It is everywhere and always. I found some last Sunday as I rode the bus to Imago Dei where I “go to church.” As I thought of a dear friend under duress, as I thought of possible death and certain life. As I prayed of things only for God, and as I continued to know of his ineffable qualities while I walked from the bus stop, down a sidewalk, angling right around a corner, across a street. As I took a sharp left across another street, up another sidewalk, turning a slight right. As I was pulling open a heavy wooden door, holding it open for a young couple with children, and then walking in to the smell of coffee, and the fragrant aroma of like-minded friends. And, as I went into the sanctuary with a genuine smile, and offered one last earnest plea for God to show me some sign or symbol or give me a word, anything to let me know. To let me know of his work and wonder in my world.
And, there it was. Three pieces of bread, on that one pew. Just for me.
And now . . . for you.