When Christine took ill she left us well provided for. Freezer, fridge and cupboards as usual were full. There was a coffee cake in the tin in the fridge. When Christine died we made that coffee cake last as long as we could, but it couldn’t last forever. Three weeks ago, to my very great joy, I discovered another coffee cake in the freezer. We ate every piece with a deliberation approaching reverence but inevitably, eventually there was just one piece left. It sat there for several days, forlorn and alone in the tin. It was past its best, somewhat dry, when I could finally face finishing it off. But it was still Christine’s coffee cake, the last piece I would ever eat. As I ate it, it was to me both memorial and sacrament. Not only was I reminded of Christine once again but I felt that she was still close to me.
In Luke Chapter 24 at the end of a journey two friends invite a stranger into their home to share a meal and stay the night. At the meal the stranger, takes some bread, breaks it and shares it out. As he does so they suddenly realise that this is no stranger, this is their friend Jesus, present with them once more. The bread and the breaking of it was the key to their remembrance. Their minds returning to multitudes being fed with 5 loaves and 2 fish, to a shared meal in an Upper Room and no doubt to other occasions that we are not to privy. Perhaps they recalled too that after that supper in the Upper Room Jesus having broken bread and shared it out said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.”
So for Christians down through the centuries something as simple and ordinary as a bread broken and shared has become both memorial and sacrament. It is for us a reminder of all that Jesus has done for us in the giving of himself but also a powerful sign of his presence with us still. In life the commonplace can become sacred and special. I am thankful that something as simple as coffee cake can help me feel close to Christine. I am even more thankful that Jesus chose something as ordinary and everyday as bread to help us draw close to him and to remember at any time the great gift of his death and the momentous nature of his resurrection that we celebrate at Easter. Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35
Grace and Peace
Read The last piece of coffee cake on Rev. Richard Bainbridge's blog.
A word from Richard will feature on the blog each month.