Common Like Bread

"To drink of thee is to live, to eat of thee is to be born," sang 17th-century composer Isabella Leonarda of God's living presence in bread and wine. Though the most simple and common of substances, the bread of Christ is our salvation and through it we are reborn daily into the mystery of discipleship; we become "a new creation," as Paul testifies (Galatians 6:15). Likewise, in the ordinariness of this time lie extraordinary possibilities. In this day-to-day-ness we live out the dramatic truths of our faith: the stubborn hope of the resurrection, the omnipotence of our God, saying yes over and over again to discipleship.

In these next nine weeks, we will accompany Jesus as he begins his final journey from Galilee to Jerusalem; through Luke's eyes we will watch the disciples learn in word and action the meaning of their mission. The great prophets will reveal a God who makes us accountable to the covenant, but who also lovingly parents us "like one who raises an infant to his cheeks" (Hosea 11:4). We will watch the continued transformation of the early Christian communities as they live more fully into their discipleship and mission to become a living church.

Through these witnesses we will learn more of our own commitment to live and preach the Word. We will learn that we bear witness to our faith—not only in great trials, but also in the daily bread of justice and the wine of compassion. We will practice being present to the gospel unfolding around us, as Chilean poet and political activist Pablo Neruda testified:

I stood by truth:
to bring light to the land
I tried to be common like bread
so when the struggle came
she wouldn't find me missing.

Let us go forth to be common like bread, to live our faith with committed passion and stubborn hope each day and hour. May we be Christ's body, fully present in the struggle to feed a world hungry for love, compassion, and justice.

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Sojourners Magazine July-August 2001
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