Just a moment of reflection from the 2015 North American Academy of Liturgy conference in Minneapolis this year.
This conference includes a concluding banquet, enfolded in a table prayer service inspired by Jewish table prayer. The service this year was beautiful, blessing and sharing light, water, bread, and wine, and concluding with a lovely thanksgiving sung in rounds (by Gabe Huck and Tony Alonso, if I remember right – I forgot to steal a copy of the worship aid, but maybe someone can assist me in the comments).
The bread on the table was large loaves of crisp crusty white bread. It was a struggle to break the bread, especially at the pace required by the liturgy. We prayed the prayer and then the first person at the table hastily wrestled a morsel off the first loaf, while the second person held the plate (and perhaps her laughter). By the time the plate reached me near the end, we had already finished the next blessing (the cups of wine) and taken a first sip. My neighbor had pulled off a very large piece and broke half of it off for me. I gladly abstained from having to wrestle with the bread myself.
It was comforting, somehow, to be reminded that it is, in actual embodied fact and not at all metaphorically, immensely difficult to break bread together as a worshipping community. No wonder we struggle so much and so visibly to do it.
Here’s to a year of humbly consenting to see our brokenness.