"It is written, ‘God gave them bread from heaven to eat.' Then Jesus said, 'I am the bread...'" - John 6:31, 35
During a class on the sacraments, a student, Carol, told this story:
After a snowstorm, only a few folks who lived within trudging distance made it to church, including Carol and her daughter, Melanie, who was four. The service was simple, a hymn, scripture, communion. Melanie had never received communion, but she was there, and no one was stopping her, so she held out her hand. With everybody else in the reverent circle, she ate. Then she broke the hush: "Mommy!" she cried, "This is the most delicious bread!"
Adults overthink everything. Especially communion. We divide into theological camps over it. We exclude people deemed morally, denominationally, doctrinally unfit. We bar little children until they're capable of abstraction. We understand everything about bread except that you're meant to eat it. But Melanie tasted what we forget—before all else, communion is food, delectable Presence, Jesus' sweet surrendered self. It is the most delicious Bread.
You don't need to be grown-up, orthodox, or confirmed to know that something tastes good; to savor a grace of exceptional flavor; to sense that this is a mercy and no ordinary thing; to be surprised at it, grateful; to cry out, delighted. You need only be there, extending your hand. You need only eat.
And so, by the way, if communion isn't delicious in your church, if it's gummy Wonder white or sawdust gluten-free, why not replace it with something less disagreeable? It's hard to believe you're at heaven's feast when the meal tastes like cardboard and glue. When choosing an edible sign that Christ is truly with us, always go for flavor. Do not disappoint Melanie.
Feed us with sweet grace, dear Christ. And may we become, like you, a most delicious bread, sharing ourselves with all who need a taste of heaven.
Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.