The Seventh Sunday of Easter (20 May 2012)
Breaking Bread in the Christian community
We have considered thus far the daily morning worship of Christian communities. God’s Word, the hymns of the church, and the prayers of the community of faith stand at the beginning of the day. Only when the community has been provided and strengthened with the bread of eternal life does it gather together to receive from God earthly bread for this bodily life. Giving thanks and asking God’s blessing, the Christian house church takes its daily bread from the hand of the Lord. Ever since Jesus Christ sat at table with his disciples, the breaking of bread together by Christ’s congregation has been blessed by his presence. …The Scriptures speak of three kinds of community at the table that Jesus keeps with his own: the daily breaking of bread together at meals, the breaking of bread at the Lord’s Supper, and the final breaking of bread together in the Kingdom of God. But in all three, the one thing that counts is that “their eyes were opened and they recognized him.”
…The breaking of bread together has a festive quality. In the midst of the working day given to us again and again, it is a reminder that God rested after God’s work, and that the Sabbath is the meaning and goal of the week with its toil. Our life is not only a great deal of trouble and hard work; it is also refreshment and joy in God’s goodness. We labour, but God nourishes and sustains us. This is a reason to celebrate. …God will not tolerate the unfestive, joyless manner in which we eat our bread with sighs of groaning, with pompous, self-important busyness, or even with shame. Through the daily meal God is calling us to rejoice, to celebrate in the midst of our working day.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer Life Together (1938) [DBWE 5, p. 71-2,73]