There is beauty in the mess of communion—in the spilling of the wine and the breaking of the bread.

By Kiri Sunde

Each week in the Lord’s Supper, we feast on the body of Christ. When we partake of this meal, we become the body of Christ. (You are what you eat.)

What we eat at Pillar Church is challah, a Jewish Sabbath bread—fresh-baked, fleshy, and fragrant. We do this in remembrance of Christ: we eat loaves of challah made by members of the congregation, week in and week out. When we feed inert flour with living yeast and watch it rise, we rehearse once more the testimony of Christ’s own coming and dying, descending, and rising. When we are given this, our daily bread, we savor anew the forgiveness of our sins, and we taste, afresh, our need of him.

We do this in remembrance, but also in recognition, of Jesus. How else would we know the stranger who tags along on our walk on the dusty road to Emmaus as anything but a roaming gardener? Jesus rose from the dead, vacated the tomb, and appeared to the disciples in the flesh, but even they did not recognize their master until they joined him around the table and dined on broken bread.

This is the salvation of the sacraments: he is made known to us in the breaking of the bread.

Would the disciples have seen their Lord in a dry, stale, factory-produced wafer? If our bread, like theirs, were warm and fresh from the oven, would we more readily recognize Jesus as God Almighty, approaching us in the warmth of human flesh?

Let’s get back to more substantial sacraments—ones into which we can sink our teeth and by which we can know our Savior. Let’s rip off hefty hunks of broken bread and soak up grapey goodness. Let’s dribble it onto white linens, staining them deep, sanguine red. Let’s leave behind a trail of breadcrumbs, marking our passage from the altar into the world, gathered and sent, loved and fed.

There is beauty in this mess—in the spilling of the wine and the breaking of the bread. It is through brokenness that Christ reveals himself to us—brokenness not only of bread and body but of lives once laden with sin, now broken open to receive and remember and recognize him.

It is here, at the table, that our hearts begin to burn within.


Kiri Sunde is a medical student at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She introduced weekly loaves of homemade challah to the congregation of Pillar Church, a dual-affiliation church of the RCA and the Christian Reformed Church in North America in Holland, Michigan, where she is a member.