This wide world (a prayer for pastors)

Dear Jesus, 

"I am the bread of life."
“I am the bread of life.”

Growing up we remembered 

that night you were betrayed 
quarterly, in the sanctuary.
We passed the trays of cubed bread
the tiny, heavy glasses of juice,
available only to the baptized
which meant not the children.
I remember my hand pushed away
by a friend who knew better,
trying to keep me out of trouble. 
“Do this in remembrance of me.”
 
Once a year we remembered
all around the wide world
the other people who shared
bread and the fruit of the vine,
who shared in you in other lands,
in other languages,
but we never talked about
the mystery of real presence
or learned about -substantiation,
trans or con.
 
“Do this in remembrance of me.”
 
I saw the faces, gathered ’round
in my imagination, garbed like dolls
in my ‘round-the-world collection.
You were everywhere, Lord, 
known and loved everywhere;
I understood as a child.
I grew up thinking of you as that man 
who told wonderful stories, 
who loved his friends, 
who faced the authorities with courage, 
sort of a Super Rabbi Hero Friend. 
 
“Do this in remembrance of me.”
 
Later I remember the Lord’s Supper, 
your supper, 
by the faces of my friends, 
my teachers, my mother, 
the choir, our minister, 
in a candlelit church hall 
on Maundy Thursday, 
seated around long tables, 
luminous as we passed the bread and cup. 
 
“Do this in remembrance of me.”
 
I try now, Lord, to know you better,
to love your people, all people,
respecting differences, 
learning from them,
no doubt smug when I mean
to be humble. This wide world
in a child’s dreaming
has a service every hour
with little cubes of bread
and cups of juice.
 
“Do this in remembrance of me.”
 
I confess, I understand
why some finish the bread
and drink all the wine; 
your real and consecrated presence
deserve nothing less.
But I also confess,
in me is a child who 
remembers the story of 
baskets of leftovers,
abundance unending. 
 
“Do this is remembrance of me.”
 
I hope for the day
when we all can gather
secure in your love,
Bread of Life,
Cup of Blessing,
beautiful in the light
you shine on us,
your people, all people,
one Lord, one table,
for the whole wide world.
 
Amen.

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