One of our peanut butter and jam sandwich makers commented one Sunday when I was picking up sandwiches, " Making these sandwiches every Sunday, kind of reminds me of communion."
He has never come out on the street with us, but, he knows from conversations and what he reads on the CARTS Fb page and website what unfolds in the inner city on Sunday afternoons. He and his wife used to go to church years ago, but slowly exited the back door as the institution seemed to loose its relevance to the world and life. But the profound redemptive imaginative act of communion seemed to stick to him. The scent, the touch and taste of bread flowed through his mind, with this profound connection and relationship between God and humanity. Humanity and God at the same table, pulling a loaf of bread apart with hands and feeding one another. There simply is no other experience more communal than eating, feeding one another.
It's profoundly beautiful when my friend tells me he and his wife pray over each peanut butter sandwich they make, say, " this is Jesus body given for you." Each and every sandwich blessed with those beautiful words and profound truth. Talk about " soul food."
Some more religious people might call that blasphemy, or sacrilegious. But, really, think about it. I'm sure the Pharisees thought Jesus had a big sacrilegious behavioural problem. He constantly ate with the wrong people. He broke bread with them, drank there wine. Heck, he turned water into wine. He hung out with prostitutes, tax collectors, the sick and all societies lepers.
You see Jesus took the everyday things in life and restored them. Maybe we've turned communion into something less than Jesus imagined. Sacraments have a visible and invisible reality, a reality open to all the human senses but grasped in its God-given depths with the eyes that hunger, for love. When parents hug their children, for example, the visible reality we see is the hug. The invisible reality the hug conveys is love. We cannot "see" the love the hug expresses, though sometimes we can see its nurturing effect.
So my friend the sandwich maker is not sacrilegious in his radical scandalous imagination of thinking his peanut butter and jam sandwich being a kind of sacrament, and seeing feeding the inner city community on Sunday's as kind of like communion.
Because sacraments in the deepest sense restore dignity and grace...the bread is a profound invisible truth that feeds the soul, and quenches hunger for love, and restores the human connection between one another, in the midst of God who sustains all life.
I don't think Jesus has any problem, with what many might deem as my friends sacrilegious behaviour. I think Jesus might be pleased, might even smile at my friends faith, praying over his peanut butter and jam sandwiches, " this is my body, broken for you."
Some how Jesus drew the line about faith being not what you say, calling Jesus Lord. But, by something profoundly more redemptive and lived out. " What ever you did for the least of these, you have done unto me." Profoundly communion is a sacrilegious act, and where we find Jesus in the most unlikely place...not on an altar in a church, but on the broken streets of humanity.
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