Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Boneless Chicken and other Mysteries

Some say we use the wafers we do for our bread to recall the manna God would send down each night like dew to the Israelites in the desert. It's a lovely way of thinking about things. As God fed them, so God in the same way feeds us.

But the Israelites lived on their manna. It was really bread! Could anyone really live on the wafers we use? Maybe it's possible, but I sure wouldn't want to try it. You ask me, If you ask me, you could pass those wafers out anywhere in the world, ain't no child gonna think that's bread, let alone that it could be a source of nourishment.

They're more what bread would be like if it were supposed to be food for Casper the Ghost -- pale, tasteless, insubstantial. Somehow to me it seems like our hosts have in effect de-breaded the bread. It's like boneless chicken -- how is that even possible?

Paul counsels in his letter to the Romans that a practice can be legitimate and yet should be suppressed if it causes too great a disturbance to other members of the community. Perhaps that's a good note for us; perhaps in some communities the concept of falling crumbs is just too troubling for members of our body, and so we're better off sticking in those places with the wafers.

I have certainly had the experience many, many times of receiving communion in the wafer form and been touched by the experience, even if only to have my own internal monologue interrupted me broken free to be in the moment.

But a little catechesis can do wonders over time, as well. And I wonder if a bread-y bread makes the meaning (and the taste) more than a little bit richer.

And then we don't have to worry about the crunching, either. (Who ever heard of bread that cracks and crunches?)

Don't you feel hungry just looking at this?