“Jesus took the seven loaves and the fish; and after giving thanks broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.” – Matthew 15:36 (NRSV)
A woman gave me her Uncle Gunnar’s flag. He was an Olympic skier for Norway, never a medalist. When he immigrated to the United States, he was so homesick he bought a full-sized Norwegian flag (now in the corner of my living room) and marched with it on Leif Erickson Day. Gunnar’s story came with the flag. His family owned a bakery in Oslo. They would bake loaves half-way, hollow a space for messages from the Resistance during World War II, then put them back in the oven. Gunnar, ten years old, would ride his bike to deliver bread to those who waited.
We are people of flags and bread. Each of us needs something to hold or hug or wave so we remember people and places we love. When I finger my grandma’s locket or stick a magnet on my grandson’s refrigerator art, I remind myself of the community for whom I march or vigil, for whom I compose each email, phone call, letter, post. Touching some tattered memorabilia of the heart changes everything for me.
But taste is even more personal than touch. When I eat with someone beyond my community naan or khubz arabee, baba or bannock, hoecake, injera, or pan dulce, something holy is broken into miracle multiplication. And I always find messages of resistance baked warm and risky into Communion. Communion feeds me, not with mystical metaphor, but gluten-free, local church, crumbs-on-the-carpet bread.
God, nourish me, so sometimes I may sit on the ground and be fed and sometimes I can be the kid on the bicycle heading to the next upper room.
Maren C. Tirabassi contributed this devotional to Rise Up! Spirituality for Resistance, a collection of devotionals to keep you burning bright without burning out, whether you’re leading a justice effort at church or heading out to join a local protest. You can order Rise Up! from UCC Resources.