Music plays softly as I hold the little cup quietly in my lap. I cradle the cracker in my hands, praying. Then I taste, and I remember.
I remember how He came for me when I wasn’t looking. How He opened my eyes to beauty and my heart to hope.
I remember the first time I took communion, legs swinging in the pew, uncomprehending and yet mesmerized by the low, joyful tones of pastor; by the holy quiet in the small sanctuary. I ate and drank, taking in the ancient symbols binding me to belonging. To becoming. To home.
The sacrament began humbly, in a stuffy room in a crowded city. “Do this”, Jesus said, “in remembrance of me.” The first loaf was broken, passed around, fishermen and thieves sharing it around the Passover table, wondering.
In those first harrowing weeks, shocked and grieving, the disciples gathered again, remembering. Then came the impossible sightings, followed by tongues of fire, and the few partaking in fear quickly became a multitude, their numbers overflowing into the streets with joy.
The bread and cup were first passed around the Jewish Passover table, then across to the Gentiles, circling ever outward through the ancient world. Priest and slave, man and woman, merchant and beggar, the weak and the mighty each taking a bite. Taking a sip. Remembering.
I, too, taste the bread, like my spiritual forebears, reveling in this life passed to me, hand to hand, from ages past all the way down to that little girl squirming on the hard pew. And to the older woman I am today, still captured by the beauty of it. I sip from the cup, joined to the millions who came before me and the millions all over the world who are also tasting it with me this day, remembering.
This simple meal, miraculously kept through war and betrayal and the near destruction forged by our own sin – it still provides for our souls. Still satisfies our hunger and thirst – the kind that a bit of bread and juice can’t fill, but the remembering can.
I remember, like a bride remembers her vows. The miracle of love tastes new again in the partaking. I remember, like a weary traveler glimpsing home. The wonder of belonging fills my chest, tears pressing in gratitude. I remember, like I have since that first taste. Like I will again until my last.
A feast is coming, Jesus said. A wedding celebration where all of our remembering will be swallowed up in joy. But for now, in this place, among these people, I wait. I wait, and I remember.