Another Communion Story -- "Mysterious Bread"

Baptist Assembly 2009

As the title says, here's "Another Communion Story" for you. I have bunches of them after 11.5 years of serving here in Girdwood. This one gives you a hint into what goes on in my mind during communion.

I have said here that we get wonderful communion bread from Girdwood's own "The Bake Shop." We are so accustomed to those delicious, rectangular loaves of mild sourdough (really more like a wheat in flavor) that our communion service at 10 AM really revolves around it. Just recently we were given a new communion set so we could have a rectangular plate that would hold the bread perfectly.

I understand that bread. When it comes time to serve, I know just about how far it needs to "stretch" depending on the size of the congregation that day. So, when more people are there, the kids don't get quite as large a piece. But, when the crowd's a little slimmer, I can afford to be much more generous.

I understand that bread. I know how it breaks in nice, firm pieces, just right for dipping into the grape juice. Sometimes I'm surprised by the tear and a person gets a larger piece that expected. But most people are very happy with a larger piece.

Last Sunday, Girdwood's "The Bake Shop" was closed. That meant that we needed to get our communion bread from someplace else. It was good bread, don't get me wrong. One of my theories with communion is that, if you're not going to use real wine you should at least make sure you have good bread and real grape juice. This was bread from another bakery in Anchorage and was a great loaf of bread. It was dense. It was round. But, it was mysterious.

I didn't understand this bread. It was heavier than I was used to. It was a different shape. And when I started breaking off pieces to serve the gathered congregation it broke in odd shapes. Usually I don't have to think much during communion. I just get to enjoy and bask in communion. But this past week I had to think.

The bread, as usual, was broken in two pieces at the start of communion. And, more or less, each half should feed one half of the church. However, as I finished with that first half of the loaf, I wasn't yet done with the first half of the church. Thereafter the pieces were smaller. And I felt bad for the kids who were coming up, eager to get their "big piece" and I couldn't provide.

God still provided. We've never run out of bread during Holy Communion and we weren't going to start last Sunday.

However, it is interesting what goes through the mind of an officiant at the communion table as we try to fulfill our responsibilities in serving a congregation with the body and blood of Christ.