There was a seed that lay asleep under a thin blanket of soil until one day when the rains had softened the earth and the sun had warmed it, the shell of the seed cracked. It sent out slender roots to anchor itself firmly in the ground, then sent a green spike rising up out of the dirt, unfolding its grassy blades as its transformed heart stretched upward, reaching for the sun. And when it had reached just the right height, it crowned itself with a cluster of kernels, 30, 40, 50 seeds huddled together in a head of wheat, seeds identical to what the seed, itself, had been before it had been laid to sleep beneath the soil. With nothing more than water, soil, sunshine and the imperative to grow, the seed reproduced itself fifty times over.
Christ is in the seed. Christ is in the soil. Christ is in the rain. Christ is in the sunshine. Christ is in the growing. Christ is in the roots and blades of the stalk, and in the nutrients gathered from soil and sun. Christ is in the clustered seeds that crown the stalk. And on that warm day when the sun turns the green to gold, Christ is in the harvesting and the threshing.
Christ is in the crushing when the amber grains are ground to powdery flour. Christ is in the transformation when the flour is mixed with water then kneaded into dough. Christ is in the heat of the baking. Christ is in the bread, in the breaking, in the sharing, in the eating.
Christ is in the invitation to the table. Christ is in the gathering itself. Christ is in the crossing of all the social boundaries that so often keep us apart.
Christ is in the gathering.
Christ’s table is for everyone. On the night Jesus was betrayed even Judas was at the table with Christ. Even his betrayer received the bread and wine. Levi the tax collector was there. So were the Galilean fishermen, Peter, Andrew, James, and John, the sons of thunder. Simon the Zealot was there. Mary Magdalen and Joanna and Mary, his mother were there. People who would not have known each other except that he brought them together were gathered as companions, sharing bread, sharing his presence, trying to understand things they didn’t know how to hear.
When Jesus, the Christ, broke the bread and began to pass it around the table he looked deeply into the faces of his friends and family and said, “This is my body.” He was telling him that he was in the wheat and the grape and the rich earth which brought them to life. He was telling them that he was in the transformation that turned seeds in the earth into bread and wine. He was telling them that the life they were taking into themselves to sustain their own lives was life that had flowed from him.
He was telling them that they were being filled with his life so that they could now be his hands, his feet, his eyes and ears, his voice, and his heart to carry his love and forgiveness and message to the world. He was telling them that they were assembled, united in him, as a body. He was telling them that now they would be his body.
He is still saying all of that to all of us. When we hear the words, “This is my body, this is my blood,” he is telling us that we are the new covenant that carries his presence and forgiveness and love as an antidote to all the pain that’s forever being inflicted in the world. Jesus is uniting us to be Christ in the world, to bring life and light into a world overwhelmed with death and shadow.
In him was life and that life is the light of all people.
Taste and see the goodness of the Lord. Life is in the bread and the wine. The call to serve each other is in the bread and the wine. Grace and forgiveness are in the bread and the wine, reminding us that goodness and transformation can come even from things that have been crushed. Companionship is in the bread and the wine. Love is in the bread and the wine, nurturing us and sustaining us and empowering us to be Christ in the world…
in Jesus’ name.