August 15, 2021: Sharing One Loaf

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

Sharing One Loaf

It was a happy day in Mr. Rights’ fifth-grade class, when I took our bread machine to school. First thing in the morning, two students mastered their measurements by adding all the ingredients to the machine: 1¼ cup of milk. 3 cups of flour. 1½ tablespoons of sugar. 1½ teaspoons of salt. 2 tablespoons of butter. And 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast. Throughout the day, we smelled the rising dough and then the beautiful baking aroma that filled our end of the building. At the end of the day, the warm loaf was sliced into sixteen equal portions, one for each student and their teacher.

As I placed a portion of bread on each desk, the preacher in me felt as if he had done something like this before. Putting our mouths to the task of eating, the classroom was quiet, until one of the students broke the silence. We’re just like a family, she said.

Wow, how nice, I thought.

Then she added: We’re just like a family, except a family doesn’t fight as much as we do.

Nonetheless, that brief experience of a classroom “family” took us to a place not far from the kingdom of God. We had only expected to share a loaf of bread, but we ended up sharing, if for only a moment, the blessing of family around a table of fifteen student desks.

Something similar happens in the church, when we abide in Christ, gathered around the table of Holy Communion. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “The bread we break: when we eat it, we are sharing in the body of Christ. Because there is the one loaf of bread, all of us, though many, are one body, for we all share the same loaf” (1 Corinthians 10:16–17 GNT).

Though we are prone to fight like siblings, the one Bread we share integrates us into a unified whole. Sharing the Bread, abiding in Christ, we become one, just like a family at its best.

John D. Rights, pastor, Konnoak Hills Moravian Church
Winston-Salem, North Carolina