Dearly beloved, the story is told that a man named Jesus dined nearly two thousand years ago among his disciples on the eve of his arrest and crucifixion. Some say that Jesus took bread, spoke of it as his body, broke it into pieces and passed it among them to eat. And it is said that he poured them wine that he likened to his blood and urged them to drink it. Thus shall you remember me, he said.
How could Jesus see his body in bread? All bread is the product of relationship between seed and soil and sun and rain and the [people] who planted and tilled it, the animals they used to share their labor, the work they did to extract the grain and convert it to flour, and the labor of baking. It is the product of knowledge passed down through time and foresight. Jesus saw bread, as we do today, as both nourishment and a web of faithful and hopeful relationships. Eat bread, he said, so that you remember how you and I are the same.
How could Jesus see his blood in wine? Wine represents a web of relationships every bit as wonderful as bread. When we consume wine with respect for its nature, it contributes to the health and happiness of any community in which it is shared. And yet wine is vulnerable, as each of us is, to abuse, spilling and waste. Drink wine, Jesus said, so that you remember we are all vulnerable to abuse even as we are blessed with life.