Tag Archives: eucharist

Eucharisteo

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Giving thanks, this is an awakening — the breath of God upon the face, close and warm. Ann Voskamp.

Eucharisteo is Greek for Thanksgiving.

It evokes eucharist, bread-and-wine-communion, the absorbing and taking in of Christ.  We take communion to remember how He bled His new covenant of grace over our fatal wounds, our slow dying.  Do this in remembrance of Me. Luke 22:19.  Eucharisteo is a life of communion, a face turned upward to glory in forever-remembering.  Remembering has one pure result: eucharisteo, thanksgiving.  Read this, an invitation to be changed by a thanksgiving life.

Sometimes eucharisteo is a flame that burns purifying pain into a broken story.   It can be a sacrifice that feels too great to bear, a deep and holy offering from shaking hands.  I have walked that desperate journey (perhaps will walk it again).  I know, Lord, that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. May your unfailing love be my comfort. Psalm 119:75. 

Then, other times, eucharisteo is as easy as breath.  Sometimes God dazzles us with grace upon grace, a heaping of YES and AMEN.  Sometimes His bottomless mercies shower like rain.  Then eucharisteo is an anthem of joy that rises from a dancing heart.  The Lord your God is with You, a victorious warrior. He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. Zeph.3:17-18.

Then again, sometimes eucharisteo is sweet and still.  Sometimes thanksgiving is entwined within the sturdy fabric of daily rhythms, yearly traditions, simple fragments of a righteous life.  Often, eucharisteo is woven through roasted turkey, spiced cider, pumpkin pie.  The precious rituals of the fourth Thursday in November are not the true Thanksgiving, but they can be the tethers that anchor us to a deeper truth, a richer worship.

I wake early on Thanksgiving morning, linger over coffee and Matthew 1, the whisper of advent.  I grind wheat to make the first of the year’s batches of Christmas bread dough, a rich recipe that tastes like warm tradition.  I shape the dough into cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls and loaves – the recipe is bountiful, like the season.  Lucy and I don matching aprons.  She licks the honey spoon, eyes alight.  It is over 60 degrees in Colorado on Thanksgiving Day.  Dreamy Scott and Jack play football and soccer in the unexpected sun.  A quiet heart day, spent readying ourselves for a feast of thanks.

We eat late, as the sun sets, after a day of shining and play.  We pray over the five kernels of corn hidden under the napkins (hidden like so many jewel of grace that we do not see) in our salad bowls.  We remember the pilgrims who died by the scores in the terrible first winter with only five kernels of daily corn.  They still praised God, and He heard their cries, providing a way to future abundance.  True Thanksgiving is always a remembering worship of His Story.  We linger over conversation, pecan pie, mulled wine and football.  The Lord has blessed our family with a mighty blessing, and we remember the God who loves us with an everlasting Love.

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Loaves

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I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. John 6:51.

I made bread today.

I start by grinding wheat.  I feed the kernels into the mill.  The mill grinds them into powder, pulverizing what they once were into nourishment.

They are more whole after they are decimated, because it is only as flour-dust that they can feed the five thousand.

Lord, how many times will you ask us to die? How much longer, O Lord, will you grind us into dust? It is very hard that wholeness comes in pieces. 


Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. John 12:24.

I pour hot water into the mixer. Steam rises in ghostly rivulets as I pour. The heat will soak through the dough, unlocking the yeast.  There is no risen bread without the power of the nearly-boiling baptism.

Once, two of Jesus’ disciples asked him an audacious question.  “Let one of us sit at your right and one of us on your left in your glory.”  To sit at either side of The King of Glory? A staggering request.  

You don’t know what you are asking, Jesus said. Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?  Mark 10:38.

That baptism is too deep for me.  I am merely earth and breath.  The cost of resurrection is a baptism too great to bear. Give me grace for only this day, only this step forward. Hallelujah.  You are the risen bread.

Oil and honey are next.  The Spirit and the sweetness.  They mingle with the crushed wheat and the singeing water.  They hold it together.

Lord, in this life all that is good is grace.  You blend joy and suffering in the mystery of transformation.  Our honey coats us with sticky joy – we are the most blessed of your Beloved.  O Jesus, we raise our faces in sated thanksgiving.

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing. Deut.8:7-9.

A tablespoon of salt for seasoning.

Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings. Lev.2:13.

Salt = covenant.  God’s faithful promises are the flavor, the seasoning, the preservation of the Bread of Life.

Lord, may I always salt my ways with your covenant. “This is my body, which is broken for you.”  Your bread-body, broken in fulfillment of your everlasting promise to preserve a people for Your own possession.  Salt me with your faithfulness forever.

I sprinkle yeast evenly over the bowl.

I push the button to mix.  The curved metal hook scourges the contents of the bowl, forcing the dry powders into the steaming water. The spinning claw merges the separate elements into a gloppy mass.  I identify bubbles at the edge – the yeast begins to do its work.

Yeast, also called Leaven.  Activated by the burning baptism, the yeast infiltrates the doughy mass, creating tiny pockets of air that expand, expand, expand the dough.  It begins to grow.

The pages of Scripture whisper the secrets of leaven through two opposing metaphors –

Be on your guard against the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Luke 12:1.

or

 Jesus asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like leaven that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough. Luke 13:21.

The leaven that infiltrates my life is my choice.  Hypocrisy or the kingdom of heaven? Fallen lies or eternal Truth?  With which leaven will I sprinkle what I make of my life? What will the savage mingling of elements bubble up in me?

Life or death.  That is the what is at stake with leaven.  Whatever we choose will create a rising, an expansion, a slow inflation in who we become.  The other ingredients remain the same – but the legacy is in the Leaven.

Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?               1 Cor.5:6.

The dough is ready, after a long season of violence.

Kneading

Shaping

Shaping

Ready to Rise

Dough before rising

Risen dough

Battened dough balls transform under the heavy heat of the oven.  The closed door, the sealed tomb, does its terrible work, but death buckles its knees to Resurrection Life.

Fragrant loaves rest fresh and hot on the counter, plump invitations to a deeper nourishment.  Resurrection Loaves.  Bread of Life.

I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.  Psalm 81:10.

Later, I consume my portion in a small sanctuary of worship.  It is only a piece of homemade bread, after all, but today it is Communion.

Eucharisteo

And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?       1 Cor. 10:16.