This Bread of Life, This Cup of Joy.
As a minister and chaplain I have spoken these words: "This is the Bread of Life and this is the Cup of Joy" in the context of a worshiping religious community and at the bedside of the sick.
Hearing these words cultivates the opportunity for individuals and whole communities to unburden themselves of suffering, fear, and loss. It has occurred to me in recent days that the power and restorative quality of such words has been lost in a wave of collective fear and inflammatory rhetoric.
I wonder what would happen if we, as a community, held such words in our thoughts and hearts as we moved throughout our daily routine?
As we sit in our cars, as we meet with our coworkers and supervisors, as we converse with our neighbors and family- what if the first thought that we silently spoke was: "Receive this Bread of Life and this Cup of Joy." What if we paused before we spoke out in hate or fear and silently recited, "Life to you and Joy " to those individuals who we feel have wronged us?
Instead of separating ourselves and hiding behind walls, what do you think would happen if we, instead, offered words of healing and hospitality. Receive this Bread of Life and this Cup of Joy.
As I reflect further on these sacred words, I am reminded that Restoration, Hospitality, Life, and Joy are qualities which all the world's religions and all the world's peoples have sought to cultivate and embrace. At the same time, I acknowledge that extreme voices or factions reside in all cultures and religions without exception. Instead of stoking fears and shouting inflammatory slogans at refugees, immigrants, and anyone of a different faith or political persuasion, choose rather to silently and prayerfully recite this mantra- Life to You and Joy.
Rev. Mark C. Pafford
Minister and Chaplain