Tag Archives: communion

another letter to Jesus

Dear Jesus:

This has to stop  We can’t keep up.

We finally found you in the synagogue. of all places. We slid in the back. It was pretty crowded (squeezing 5000 people into a building is harder than spreading out on a hillside) but we managed. We got there just in time for the reading about manna, one of our favorite Moses-stories.

It made us think about you feeding us the other day. Moses got bread from heaven. You looked up at heaven and then gave us bread. It seems almost a miracle.

So we simply asked you for a miracle like Moses’. I mean, we were fed with manna for forty years. You gave us one day. Is it too much to ask that you give us a second?

But you had to get all spiritual, talking about living bread and you being bread and you actually being bread.

When following you means that you give us lunch, that sounds really good. When following you means that you are lunch, that’s creepy.

We’re guessing that we aren’t the only ones who will find this image somewhat off-putting. The leaders, the children, it just isn’t right.

Our advice? Stay popular. Go for what people are comfortable with. Stick with the actual bread. Plant a kid with a bag of food in every crown. You won’t go wrong.

And just let go of this Father in heaven image. It’s too controversial.  The next thing you know, you’ll be talking about asking him for our daily bread, and then suggesting that’s you.

We’re sorry we were grumbling so much today. We were hungry. We had spent so much time looking for you. And then, you are so, so, gross.

Clean up the act a bit,  Jesus, please.

Just saying.


The 5000 4500 1000 some friends.


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Flat bread. Grape squeezings.

A few hours after I write this, a handful of people, older than high school (but less than a decade so) are going to sit in a circle and look at flat bread and grape squeezings.

They will have spent  time before that looking at their souls, allowing the God whose job description includes “reminding you what I [Jesus] taught” to point out places where “what He taught” and “what I did” don’t line up. They will have spent  time writing thank you notes to God.  For some in the middle of finishing high school graduation cards, that will be a challenging process. They will have spent time asking God to help their families. For many in this age bracket, that will be challenging as they learn what it means to be on their own.

Then we will sit in a circle and I will remind them of who they say they believe Jesus is. Or more accurately, what they believe Him capable of.

They would say, if asked, that Jesus knows everything. That even when he was walking around with three and a dozen and a hundred and thousands of people, that He knew what people were thinking, what was going to happen. In fact, he predicted it quite well. “You will deny me three times, Peter.”

Knowing what they would do in a couple hours, he sat at a table and gave them flat bread and grape squeezings and told them that this was His body and that it was going to be crushed like this bread and spilled like this wine. He told them that it was for them.

At the time, I think, they didn’t understand.

Later, they did.

They understood that His love didn’t depend on their loyalty.

Take and eat. And be at peace.

Linking to holy week

I struggle with remembering where things are in the Bible. I struggle with remembering details of stories. I remember ideas and images in sweeping references.

I’m not alone.

Some days, it’s helpful to review, to go back to the familiar images and read the actual story again.

This is a good week for reviewing.

Today? Some images that have worked their way into popular culture.

1. Washing one’s hands of a matter

Pilate was a Roman governor of Israel. He could decide death penalty cases and would have acquitted Jesus. He deferred to the wishes of a crowd but symbolically absolved himself of responsibility.

Matthew 27: Single sentence Whole story

2. Thirty pieces of silver

Judas was one of the twelve disciples. He agreed to help the religious leaders find Jesus  when there were no crowds around. They paid him thirty coins.

Matthew 26: Getting paid Matthew 27: Returning the money

3. Crown of thorns

Put on Jesus’ head by the soldiers who were torturing him. It was a painfully sarcastic reference to being considered a King. This detail shows up in three of the four Gospels.

Matthew Mark John

4. Washing feet

At social events, servants provided water and towels for washing dirty feet. At the supper that turned out to be the last one, there was no servant. Jesus got the water and towel and washed the disciples’ feet. It was the last thing a leader would be expected to do.

John 20: The story

5. Bread and wine

Jesus and his followers were together for supper. Jesus took what was at hand, at the table. There was at this meal, of course, bread and wine. And so he used those elements to create a reminder. Intriguing: we celebrate communion in church but we eat bread all the time. So when could we remember?

Luke 22: the story