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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Re: [Slice 2459] Food for the Hungry (May 11, 2011)

A Slice of Infinity

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From: "A Slice of Infinity" <postmaster@ls.egen.net>
Date: Wed, May 11, 2011 3:14 am
Subject: [Slice 2459] Food for the Hungry (May 11, 2011)
To: "jen grace" <grace.family@live.com>

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Food for the Hungry

When summer comes and city corners are full again of kids with bikes and basketballs, my mind returns to a particular playground.  For several summers I worked at a church with an outdoor recreation ministry, whose intent was to serve the neighborhood, meeting the kids and building relationships.  We played games, read stories, jumped rope, and organized basketball tournaments.  One year a volunteer came and helped the kids make pottery, so we commissioned them to create some new communion plates and chalices for the church to celebrate the Lord's Supper. 

Many of these kids had never taken communion before; many had never heard of the Lord's Supper or been told the story of Jesus and his disciples in the upper room.  So with muddied hands we told the story, and together that summer several sets of communion plates and cups were fashioned by kids eager to see them in use.  I have never seen more colorful, misshapen objects grace the altar of a church.  Nor have I ever seen so many wide-eyed children come to life at the communion table.   The elders held the lopsided plates and cups, inviting the church community to come and remember the one who shapes us.  The children had a physical reminder of their place at the table, and the rest of us were reminded again that we are children being nourished by the king. 

In the Christian faith, the table is a place, like the foot of the cross, where we are welcome—rather, summoned—to come forward as we are:  the poor to a benevolent giver, the sick to a physician, the sinful to the author of righteousness, and children to the Father of life.  He has given us this sign and seal specifically with us in mind.  When Jesus gave us the command to take the bread and the cup in remembrance of him, he gave us a sign of his presence that is both visible and physical.  Fourth century preacher John Chrysostom suggests this is because we ourselves are physical, as is the body of Christ himself:  "Were we incorporeal, he would give us these things in a naked and incorporeal form.  Now because our souls are implanted in bodies, he delivers spiritual things under things visible."  That is to say, we are given a sign to hold, a memory of Christ that literally nourishes both body and soul.  In the act of remembering, we are given the assurance of a real and present Christ:  "Lo, I am with you always even unto the ends of the earth" (Ma