One of my favorite things in the world is home-made bread—straight from the oven. Cooled just enough to slice into it, but still warm enough to melt the butter. So good.
Let’s just imagine for a moment a fresh-baked loaf of bread sitting on a kitchen table. The delicious smell draws everyone in the house to the kitchen, and they gather around the table as someone slices and serves it to each one. Piece by piece, the loaf disappears into the hands and mouths of those gathered around. Each person shares in the delight and satisfaction of their own little piece of the same bread—each is nourished by the same ingredients.
Look around now at everyone eating their bread: forgetful grandpa to emotional mom; humorless dad to rebellious teen and his annoying little sister. They can’t agree on everything. In fact, at times it seems like they can’t agree on anything. But they can agree on the bread, and sharing it brings them together.
There was once a group of 12 men who loved and followed Jesus, but couldn’t seem to agree on anything. But in the midst of their bickering, Jesus prepared their hearts by washing their feet, and then sat them at the table and served up some bread and juice. That meal brought them together, not only physically, but spiritually. The bread and grape juice represented His body—broken and bleeding for us. We are all equally sinners and equally in need of His grace. The disciples didn’t get all that yet, but Jesus knew they would someday.
Jesus wants us to get it too. Each person must make the choice to come to the table and eat the Bread—to accept His sacrifice for themselves. We gather together, sharing our hunger and sharing our delight and satisfaction in Jesus, the Bread of Life.
So how do we get people to the table—people who see things so differently from us? Forcing or manipulating might bring people to the table, but it won’t make anyone hungry. Instead, we can pray for the Holy Spirit to make us hungry, and to help us accept others who are hungry for the Bread of Life. We can open the kitchen door, pull out the chairs, and invite all who are hungry to join us at the table. And we can celebrate that sharing the Bread brings an unlikely group of people together in beautiful unity.
Unity without Christ is impossible. But when we gather at the table to share Christ and His sacrifice together, unity is inevitable.
*About every other week, we send out a short devotional to our volunteers. This was written by Andrea Keele, and sent on April 27, 2015.