Begging for bread

“Daddy, we forgot to talk about communion yesterday,” Micaela says.

She’s right.  We did forget to talk about it.  Or more like it, I forgot.  It’s actually the last thing I want to talk about right now.  I’m mid-bite in a perfectly cooked slice of bacon.  But I suppose this is Deuteronomy six.  “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”  I get my Bible and open to the end of Matthew.

As I search for the passage in mind, she asks, “Daddy, how will I know when I’m ready to take communion?”

This first came up over the summer.  She didn’t make a fuss over us not letting her participate, but she wanted to know what it was all about.  So we read and talked.  “Can I take it?” she wanted to know.

I wasn’t sure how to respond, so I said, “I think you will know when you are ready.”

Mostly it seemed that she was just hungry on a Sunday morning and wanted a snack as the bread (matzoh) and wine (juice) were passed.  But of course, it was hard to discern.  I guess it was my way of buying time.  Besides, I still wonder if I am ready.

Not sure how to answer, I start reading:

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”  And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28)

“Why did they break the bread?” Emeth asks with his arms outstretched, motioning the breaking of bread over and over again, fascinated by his own hand movements.

“Jesus was celebrating the Passover with his Disciples.”

“What’s the Passover?” Micaela asks.

My mind goes back to the spring when we read about the Exodus.  “Do you remember when we read about Pharaoh?”

We talk again about the tenth and most devastating plague.  Moses telling the Israelites to kill the perfect lamb and paint the blood over the door post.  The Angel of Death passing over.  The death of the first born.

Her face is so attentive.  She is turning these words over in her mind, like a heap of compost.

For four years we’ve dumped all of our organic waste into a pile between three pallets in our backyard.  Slowly turning the heap with a shovel each time.  Four years of leaf accumulation, grass clippings and food waste.  It is a beautiful black, rich with minerals and nutrients and fat worms doing their God given task.

And now, all of these pure, simple words that we have poured into her over the past four years are beginning to break down and meld together.

As she asks more questions, she is letting me see the Passover and communion through the eyes of a child.  This old story comes to life again.  The blood of the lamb over the doorpost.  Jesus, the Lamb.  His blood shed for us.  Covering us.  Washing us white as snow.

She is teaching me, and my heart begins to warm.  I want to cry at the simplicity of it.

Later, at church, as they pass the bread and wine, she asks me if she can take it.  Sadly, my mind runs to all of the immature things she has done or said that week.  Or that morning.  Then, just as quickly, I am reminded of my own immaturity.  The things I said.  The things I did, or chose not to do.

Is she ready?  She is as ready as me.  We are as ready as Peter, who denied Jesus three times that night.  Two hungry children standing before their Father, begging for a piece of bread.

We take and eat together.


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