Written By: Kate Gapp
A Holy Week Reflection: Breaking Bread and Christ’s Most Perfect Gift
Breaking bread together happens in community.
On Fat Tuesday, we received a surprise: our time normally slotted for formation was gifted with a gift of community Mexicocina dinner—news better than we could have even imagined. (If money were no object, I’m certain that some of us would be addicted to their pollo nachos. It’s a block from our apartment, so temptation is always lurking literally around the corner.) Skipping home like it was Christmas, the six of us gathered around the dining room table.
The thing is that breaking bread together is so much more than that. Sharing food is culturally, historically, and biblically a symbol for sharing life.
I’ve been baking a lot of homemade bread lately. You might be thinking, what kind of first-year teacher has time to bake? It is so therapeutic though. Four simple ingredients: flour, water, yeast, salt. Once combined, it rises overnight. When I rise in the morning, so has the dough; shaped, floured, and settled, it bakes during my morning coffee date with Jesus.
Though I treasure this alone time each morning, I delight just as much in my apartment-mates waking to the smell and treat of a basic but fresh and homemade breakfast. T o g e t h e r, bread is broken and shared. Together, we begin our day together. Nourished by bread and often a silent morning together, we nonetheless strengthen our bond by sharing this experience together.
The experience of bread. It signals home. It signals labor. It signals love.
Not an accidental symbol.
The etymology of the word companion is “one who breaks bread with another,” and reminds me of the reality of what humans do together.
In our Fellows community, moments around the table have brought us together as companions. As we ate extra portions of Mexicocina on Mardi Gras together, laughing as we shared hilarious things our students did and said that day, we were teaching companions. As we shared the Lenten sacrifices we would begin the following day, we were companions in spiritual accountability.
Just last week, the Fellows from the other apartment tredged over in the snow day to a pot of Chicken Wild Rice Soup in the slow-cooker. Setting the table, ladling bowls, breaking bread. Companions on the journey.
And this is how we survive long work weeks. This is how we remember that life is not meant to be lived alone. This companionship that is part of community fills us up that we may go forth again, nourished to nourish.