Missions - Jesus in the Bread Line

Missions -- You may have noticed the above print on the Missions board in the Old Well Hall. In the Lenten booklet, Meeting Jesus on the Margins by Bo Cox, there is a meditation written by Lee Anne Reat giving an interesting perspective on Fritz Eichenberg’s 1953 wood engraving, Christ of the Breadlines. She writes, “Jesus stands with six others who appear to be poor and perhaps homeless, huddled under blankets. Their heads are bowed. In prayer? In shame? In exhaustion? Jesus shares the humiliation of the hungry waiting in long lines to receive their daily bread. The fundamental lesson of Matthew 25 is that when we respond to the needs of others, we are responding or failing to respond to Christ. Salvation, in this passage, is a matter of how we treat “the least of these.” Churches are very good at feeding people. Church folk are known for sumptuous potlucks and parties. We respond readily to calls for food at pantries that serve the poor, and many congregations serve dinners at shelters or in their own dining rooms to neighbors in need. We give generously to international organizations such as Episcopal Relief & Development when famine threatens whole populations.

But is that enough? We may be responding to only one aspect of the hunger that grips our sisters and brothers and ignoring our own hunger in the process. If we look closely at Christ in the Breadlines, we see more than hunger for food. Each person in the line is turned inward, alone and vulnerable. What we see goes beyond hunger for food. We see hunger for connection, hunger for relationship. Isn’t that a hunger we all share, regardless of our economic circumstances? When we recognize Christ’s presence as we gather around tables with the poor, feeding programs transform into eucharistic celebrations, as hearts are filled along with stomachs. When we join in the meal we soon discover that we, too, are hungry and in need of food. We, too, are the lonely, afraid, and in need of friendship. We discover Christ in the other and Christ in ourselves.”

This certainly speaks to what we do and want to continue doing at Calvary- welcoming all, feeding the hungry, building relationships and getting to know our neighbors! Let’s keep meeting Jesus in the Margins!