Poems and Prayers for Lent 6

This past Sunday we read this poem together just before sharing communion.  I came across it some years back and have always found its gentleness is its challenge: ‘they move quietly in the space between the lines of his story …’

Meals, no matter how ‘sacred’ or ‘domestic’, always require the work of those who inhabit the lines and spaces in between.  The cooks, bottle washers and bread makers are the hidden ones.  But ‘sacrament’ can never be without them.

The Last Supper

All day they are in the house:
Mary and Martha,
Joanna and Salome,
Susannah and all the others,
baking bread,
making ready,
remembering together other meals:
by the Sea,
on the mountain,
at Emmaus …
and always hoping there will be
enough to go around.

They move quietly
in the space
between the lines of his story,
making a ceremonial of love
out of everyday meals.

From the beginning
they have served and shared:
memories and hopes,
dreams and visions,
common friendship.

He takes the unleavened bread,
the bread of parting and haste,
the bread of sadnesses;
passes it from man to woman,
woman to man,
from man to child,
child to woman;
from hand to hand,
lips to lips—
that with light and leavened remembering
all may feast
on immortal grain.

Joy Mead, 2000

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