Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Breaking Bread

As a Roman Catholic child, I was taught that my body was a temple of The Holy Spirit and that Jesus was the vine of our faith, we are all branches on this vine. We were also taught all sorts of thoughts, words and actions that would get us pruned from the vine for all eternity. There was only one way to become a part of this vine and to be re-grafted onto it if one was pruned off; this was through a priest in The Roman Catholic church.

I have been thinking of the sacraments that were supposed to instill in us extra grace for daily life, and they did. But giving all this power over to a lone priest or two in each community was a set-up for corruption. And handing the ministry over to people who had no training in humble hospitality was doomed to failure. Women for millenia have tended the home fires and the kitchen gardens. When I ask my husband to prune a peach tree, I'd best be right next to him lest he cut off the blossoms with the branches.

I understand all the grand theater and symbolism makes hearts swell and thoughts turn to gold-lined streets in a future heaven. I just don't see this as the way Jesus did things while he lived.  How and why did the humble home become not good enough for the grand celebrations of shared faith? When and how did religions become a competition for filling the most seats?

It seems to me that another way to look at the creation of the body and blood of Christianity, is not to look at the ritual consecration by the priest of a dry wafer and a bit of fruity liquid. Perhaps the transubstantiation of the bread and wine at our family dinner tables should be treated as the sacrament of changing the blessings of the planting, harvesting, preparing, serving, and sharing in eating and drinking into the earthly manifestations of The Sacred Spirit in the bodies of those who use this energy in service to the sacred earth and its inhabitants.

Do we ever wonder who cooked the loaves and fishes? Who grew and ground the wheat for the bread? Who caught and cleaned the fish? Who served the food to the masses? And what about the food and wine for The Last Sabbath Supper of Jesus? Humans gave their bodies over to the procurement, preparation, and presentation of that banquet. And somebody always has to clean up after any great gathering. Perhaps we should tithe to the "unwashed masses" who fill these functions in our daily lives.

I have a Roman Catholic friend who asks for blessings on the meals we share, ending with "and bless the cook." I feel very honored that he verbalizes appreciation for the effort that goes into putting a meal on the table. Because a person has a gift that is a humble hospitality function should not make this person's efforts invisible. Give me this kind of communion over the walk-through communion of the churches any day. This kind of communion feeds my soul so that I can be a better temple of The Sacred Spirit.

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