By Jon Wren
Over the past year or so, among all of the changes and adjustments people have made because of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the newest trends has been homemade bread baking. It started as a way to pass the time while isolating ourselves from one another, and now the hobby of making bread at home has become a worldwide phenomenon. Stores have experienced shortages of baking pans, equipment, and supplies due to the demand. Google reported “how to make bread without yeast” became a popular search topic.
While the reasons behind the baking craze may vary from person to person, many social scientists pointed to the desire to find familiarity in the midst of change and uncertainty. Bread is “comfort food” for many people. It’s been a staple of life for thousands of years. When Jesus and his followers gathered together in Jerusalem to share the Last Supper, they were tired, anxious, weary, and afraid. They definitely needed some “comfort food”!
On the night he was betrayed, Jesus took the bread and said, “‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ . . . Then he took a cup, . . . he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you.This is my blood of thecovenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’” (Matthew 26:26-28). Jesus knew his disciples were weary and overwhelmed, and he knew they needed to understand for all time the significance of the meal and everything it represented for a new covenant of grace and forgiveness. But he also knew that, at that very moment, they also needed comfort!
When we take Communion as believers, we remember and celebrate what the bread and cup symbolize—the free gift of God’s grace and forgiveness. But maybe these days we can also use some comfort as we navigate a world that is different from the first century, but which has just as much uncertainty. So today let’s remember that God has forgiven and redeemed us for eternity, and that he also deeply cares for and loves us right now. May his presence and grace give us rest and comfort for today and hope for tomorrow.
Jon Wren works with the Office of Civil Rights, addressing the impact of gentrification on school desegregation. He loves history, college football, and once got a ticket for driving too slowly.