Over the weekend, I had the honor of serving as one of the Eucharistic Ministers for the Episcopal Ordination of J. Russell Kendrick, IV Bishop of the Central Gulf Coast. I was partnered with a new priest in our diocese, who thankfully has a sense of humor similar to mine. When faced with the question of who would distribute the bread and who would have the cup we used the only reasonable means to settle the issue: rock, paper, scissors. I won, and chose to distribute the bread. Being on sabbatical means that this was the first time I’ve distributed bread since the end of May. I was a chalice bearer a couple of times while at Sewanee and once while at General Convention, but for the first time in my seven and a half years as a priest, I’ve gone more than three weeks without having the pleasure of sharing the broken body of our Lord with my fellow hungry souls.
The logistics weren’t perfect, which meant there were several distractions (running out of bread not least among them), but there was, as always, a deep sense of connection and call as I took part in communing part of the crowd of nearly 1,500 who had come to celebrate, to offer thanks and praise, and to be fed by Word and Sacrament. Together, we joined with generation after generation of disciples who have come to ask of Jesus, “give us this bread always.”
As we will hear repeatedly over the next several weeks, Jesus is the bread of life. Those who are hungry for righteousness, justice, compassion, healing, and love will find their fill in the Eucharistic Feast. The Bread of Life is broken and shared that the whole world might receive their fill now and always. I miss my table ministry, and am excited to return to share the family meal with the good people at Saint Paul’s and our new bishop on August 9th. I’m grateful for the chance to share the feast with so many on Sunday, and I look forward to many years of taking my part in sharing the bread of life with a hungry world.