Communion beyond the table — Anna Blaedel, USA

Bread & Blessing Still

Thoughts on communion…

These days, I mostly celebrate communion outside of sanctuaries, no words of institution, no formal liturgy. Consecrated by the intention of savouring and sharing. The sacred practice of paying attention to bodies and bellies, to beauty, and longing, and hunger, and delight, and enoughness, and need.

The sacrament of communion, manifest in outdoor brunches with beloveds and sourdough loaves dropped on neighbour’s porches and weekly homemade meals for the students I chaplain. Mulberries plucked in the heat of summer, staining my hands. Birdfeeders bursting with sunflower seeds, the squirrels and chipmunks and cardinals and tufted titmice and sparrows and woodpeckers all taking their turns. The coconut lime bar and iced tea a friend brought to share on the patio, along with laughter and tears, for a how is it with your soul? check in. Peaches sliced and shared, juice running down chins. Ice cold water on a hot, summer day.

Earlier this week I was taking a walk with my three niblings. My job was keeping them content enough, distracted enough, that their parents could focus on packing everything into boxes for their upcoming move. All of us were hot, and tired. The youngest refusing his customary nap. Blessedly, we happened upon a raspberry bush, and made a game out of trying to spot a ripe raspberry on a bush mostly still ripening. Finally, we found one, single, perfect red raspberry. We split it four ways, a tiny taste ceremoniously placed on each of our tongues. We tried to describe the flavour. Like honey from bees! Like dirt! Like ice cream and rainbows and a hug! Like sunshine!

Millions of things, coming together. Enabling life, making aliveness possible. We feed each other and are fed by each other. We need each other and we have each other. We inhabit a living world. We give and we receive, hands cups, hearts courageously open. Our collective body, broken and beautiful and blessed. Miraculously, part of something–always changing, and also eternal. Communion. Connection. Nourishment. Crumbs into feasts, and feasts extended and shared. The bread of new life. The cup of blessing. Thanks be.

Anna (they/them) is co-founder and theologian-in-residence at enfleshed, where they tend to the theopoetic intersections of spiritual, academic, and activist engagement. Anna chaplains University of Iowa students and is a doctoral candidate in Theological and Philosophical Studies at Drew University’s Graduate Division on Religion. Waking before dawn, lingering in poetry, being an aunt, retreating to the woods or their basement woodshop, tending the garden, sharing silence, and feeding people delicious food are some of Anna’s favourite things.

Bread and blessing, still. – enfleshed   – This is the link to this reflection posted on the enfleshed website

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