Friday, October 28, 2011

My Bread, Their Bread

Every Friday I celebrate communion with 4-year old M.  M is well aware of the importance of communion and can even say most of the words of institution.  Every Friday during chapel at seminary she sits on my lap.  During the singing and the meditation she wiggles a little bit and plays with my medic alert necklace and the ring I wear around my neck, but when the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving starts, she is all eyes and ears.  She starts to quiver with excitement as she mouths the words of institution along with the pastor who is presiding that week.  As we wait our turn to go forward to receive the elements, I review with her why we take communion and what the bread and the juice represent.  She knows the answers. And then comes the most awkward question of all: my bread, or the other bread?
Here at WTS we have two offerings for communion bread - there are two beautiful loaves of challah bread and then a little plate of gluten free communion wafers.  When the pastor is doing the words of institution, it is the challah that he or she picks up and breaks.  It is the challah that is held up for everyone to see.   In fact, the little plate of gluten free wafers is not picked up or touched at all.  In all honesty, I'm glad that the gluten free wafers aren't handled, especially after the egg-coated challah is handled.  That would quickly become an allergy nightmare and instead of celebrating with M I 'd be being rushed to the hospital (egg causes swelling in me upon contact.  We haven't challenged it with ingestion, but it would not be good).  But the two bread communion leads to a little bit of theological unrest and no small amount of confusion for the littlest of our brothers and sisters.
Today, when I asked M if she wanted my bread or the other bread, she very seriously told me that "the other bread' (my bread) wasn't really bread, just crackers.  She put into words, the words I hated to think.  That somehow, my bread, the GF wafers were separate.  I know cognitively they are not.   They are just as much the body of Christ as the challah is.  However, there is a degree of separateness when we have two communion breads.
I wish we could all be united in communion.  So far, it's happened once.  I cried that day, the day when we all took gluten free communion together.  I wish it could happen more.  Because that would be wonderful and then I wouldn't have to ask M which bread she wanted.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was very pleased this past month when my church only served rice crackers at communion. When I asked why, the person who brings the supplies said it was kinda silly to have bread and crackers, especially if we were to do it right with separate communion cups, etc. YAY! Join me some first sunday of the month. :)
Sarah Elizabeth