poet // theologian // whiskey lover // loyal friend // northern beard in the southern heat.......................................Durham, NC
This is my first and last Columbus post of the day: We need to name and unmask injustice and call others to fight against oppression disguised and celebrated as discovery or advancement. But we must also look in the mirror and realize that we oppress, subjugate, rape, pillage, and enslave our neighbors, our enemies, the land, and even ourselves with the choices we make every day. It’s easier to #injustice than it is to “seek the peace of the city”. Our choices may be subtle, they may be quiet, but they are still dark, mischievous, and bent on hating, even if unbeknownst to us. We all need a little grace, for ourselves and each other. And as the great philosopher of our generation, Jon Foreman, once said, “We were meant to live for so much more.”
I always thought communion was a little weird.
I became a Christian when I was 20. Though my love for Jesus came easily, my acceptance of church traditions did not. Communion struck me as a pointless relic of orthodoxy. The vague cannibalism implied by “this-is-my-body” and “this-is-my-blood” made me wonder if the whole thing wasn’t just a misquote of Jesus. Didn’t the church have more important works of justice to do than sit around feeding each other stale wafers? Sure, the bread of life and cup of salvation sounded beautiful, but drinking grape juice from a plastic thimble was never the transcendent experience I hoped it would be.
It wasn’t until I became a nursing a mother that I began to understand the Eucharist.
My experience of breastfeeding has been very straightforward; my kids were both good latchers and grew steadily. Once I got over the initial shock of milk coming out of my boobs, I found it all quite simple and peaceful. By some mysterious process, my body produced the perfect nourishment for my babies. There was nothing gross about this transmission of fluids; I quickly ditched the nursing cover and breastfeed on demand. For food! For healing! For sleep! For comfort!
When Simon was a few months old, an acquaintance asked if I was breastfeeding. When I responded in the affirmative she said, “I knew it! I could tell by the way he looks so adoringly at you. He’s like ‘You’re all I need, Mom.’”
Perhaps this is what Jesus had in mind for the Eucharist. Through the breaking of the bread, God invites us into the nursing relationship: the meeting of all our needs.
I think about the cracked nipples and the itchy thrush, the aches and fevers of mastitis, the midnight trek across the house to feed a crying baby, fatigued to the point of nausea: "This is my body, broken for you."
I think about the times I missed out because of the chore it was keeping Simon fed, the chained-up feeling of pumping at work, the moments when I wish desperately for a break: "Poured out for you and for many…"
I think about God, who has given me these children and the means to sustain them, who is present in the Eucharist and in my nursing chair, who by these rituals invites me to participate in His life-giving power: "Do this, in remembrance of Me."
In the same vein as my dear sister Sara Miles.
LOVE this :)
You left me in burlap stitches
Rolling about in the beach grass
Thinking that your laugh
Charted and swelled
Grander than any overture.
"I think he’s settled for the middle ground rather than the higher ground"
"A prophet is a lover, not a leader."
Brother West, dropping knowledge, per usual.