This supper story came in the context of a community weekend away. The PDF has the whole worship session, which involved personal prayer exercises and reflecting on the gifts and the suffering God has given us, and some bits of liturgy.
As we have been thinking about giving to God and receiving from God, the give and take of suffering and joy, we come to break bread together as we recognise that this cycle of gift-giving is what unites us as humanity and as a group of friends.
In the bread and wine we have taken the gifts of God in wheat and grapes and human hands have worked with these gifts and made them something new, which we now offer back to God through sharing with each other.
In Jesus we see what happens when the very life of God is worked into human form – it’s an extraordinary life but a life that cannot be held onto – it must be laid down, given away again.
So now we open our hands to take this bread that is a gift from God and pass it on to another. It’s a potent symbol of the life of God inside us that must be given away.
This is my body, given for you says Jesus.
You are the Body of Christ, writes Paul.
It’s the life of God in us that ties us together – if one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it – but the call that lies before us is to give our lives away for the sake of others – it’s the way of the cross – it’s a tough call – and one we can only answer because we are one body.
You are the Body of Christ.
This is my body, given for you [break bread] – these were the words of Jesus when he had supper with his friends not long before he died – he had just broken a loaf of bread and told them to take it and eat it. In fact one of those friends would soon go and betray him to the authorities that had been plotting against him since the early days when he began travelling the country healing people and needling the religious leaders. He also took a cup of wine and said it was his blood – and that somehow by its spilling all could be forgiven, all could live in a new relationship with God, and one day sit down with Jesus again at God’s own feast.
So for all these reasons, and so many more, we share together now.