Sitting in LDS chapels we learn to think. Passing white bread and tap water right to left, left to right, we chew, think about Jesus, and look at the clock. We hear: “Oh God the eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of Jesus Christ to bless and sanctify this bread to the bodies of all those who partake of it, that they may remember…” Remember. We remember a God who went to all that trouble to have a body; a body that is far from here; a body remembered by eating bread. We remember a suffering body; a suffering body that lived and died a few thousand years ago. We partake of a sacrament of the mind.
Lately, I have been thinking more about bread. About how the signified (Jesus) obscures the signifier (bread). I have been thinking about how symbols can obscure more than they reveal. I have been baking bread from scratch. Mixing and tending to a starter. Kneading the dough and watching anxiously as it magically rises. Cooking it and eating it warm with butter, jam or hummus. Bread is a small miracle; a sacrament all by itself. The sun touches a tiny seed in the earth which erupts into green life, the grasses stalk stretches its body to the sun like a prayer, the plant produces more seeds which are filled with starch. We harvest it reverently and it comes to us in a million different foods. Water, its sacred sister too is sacrament. It travels in great long circles from ground to sky to ocean to sky to ground.
Eucharist means gratitude. Communion means to become one. Eating is communion, and gratitude is what we feel. Water becomes wheat, wheat becomes bread, bread becomes me, I will return someday to the ground, to nourish water becoming wheat becoming bread becoming someone else.