Poetry at the table #2

At Collins Street the first Sunday of the month is communion Sunday, the day we break bread together and swallow shots of unfermented grape juice from the tiniest glasses. The older I get, the more this odd and simple ritual means to me. There is something about the feel of the bread in my hands, the sacred space in which it’s broken, the repetitive words of remembering, the quiet mysteries of togetherness and grace that we eat and drink in unison. Not only do I value it more than I once did … I need it.

These words from Joy Mead say it well:

Touch tenderly: earth, water, air,
salt, time and broken grain-
this one life in all.
Touch with loving hands;

hands to make
to shape and mould,
warm, moisty dough,
feeling fleshy,
smelling earthy;

hands to bake,
well crusted bread
set by the sun,
transformed by fire,
warm with wonder;

hands to break
and break again
pilgrim bread
for pilgrim people.

In the kitchens,
from the tables,
priests of the moment
we dare to serve
this quiet mystery
this risen life,
gift of the earth,
gift of our hands,
for all to share.

Joy Mead, The One Loaf: An Everyday Celebration, Wild Goose, 2000.

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