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One Bread, One Body

One bread, one body, one Lord of all
One cup of blessing which we bless
And we, though many, throughout the earth
We are one body in this one Lord.

How many times have I sung these words while taking communion and while others communed at our common table? Bread broken. Poured out wine. Each of us humbled before the elements of the One Lord.

Gentile or Jew
Servant or free
Woman or man
No more

A cup of blessing offered openly, freely, with each one individually. No distinction. No head table. No second rows. No provisional status. No, come back after you have made some changes. All welcomed at the table of grace.

One bread, one body, one Lord of all
One cup of blessing which we bless
And we, though many, throughout the earth
We are one body in this one Lord.

Yet, look at us there. Each so different. All sizes and shapes, colors and hues, ages and stages. What a variety we are, just to look at us. But what an even more glorious distribution we are on the inside. A side we can’t see but our Lord does. A place we don’t know but our God does.

Many the gifts, many the works
One in the Lord of all.

One bread, one body, one Lord of all
One cup of blessing which we bless
And we, though many, throughout the earth
We are one body in this one Lord.

What a beautiful day is coming when each one kneels, bearing soul, offering self, telling the truth of their life to the One who alone can read it in full.

And together… We are one body in this one Lord.

Navigating the Neutral Zone

How do you come to the table? the decision table, that is. A person I respect offered, “Come to the table with your contribution but not with your mind made up.” Such good advice, if you can pull it off.

My problem is…I am a leaner. I am not sure I am ever neutral. I come with some predisposition. Something like, “I’ll probably say yes but I just need to ask a few questions.” Or “I don’t think I can do this but I’ll hear them out and maybe it’ll help me see more clearly.” I didn’t realize until recently the weight of my lean. You know, it’s pretty difficult to change direction once you’re leaning.

Okay. I’m not sure it’s possible to be completely neutral. I mean, how would you know? But my lean not only shifts the balance for me, it also has me looking in my own direction. I favor what supports my lean and dismiss or discard what doesn’t. This is no way to navigate the neutral zone.

Because in the neutral zone, no one has the advantage. There are no changes in possession or position. No final decisions adopted or final rulings made. It is (it should be) a place for equal exchange of ideas. A safe place to try out new ideas and different approaches. To brain storm without bias or fear of censorship. A place where you can try things on – not over top of what you are wearing -but on their own. (You know when you try something on over top of something else, you have already either decided whether or not to buy it, right?)

So I am re-committing to balance without leaning in the new year. Or at least to be honest with myself when I am leaning one way or the other but still undecided. That way I can give special attention to the counter-balancing arguments, the opposing points of view, the antagonist.

After all, whenever we move it is those muscles, the muscles that oppose, that keep us balanced upright and moving forward. And hopefully this keeps our joints from aching and injury later. That’s the way we are made to move. It just seems the reasonable way to come to the table for a balanced meal.

We are welcome to the table because God has made it available to all. But He asks us to take a seat not to stand and lean. And face to face is how every good decision is made. Thank goodness God has promised to keep an open mind. Surely, when I am seated, He will show me what He has in mind.

And I have on pretty good authority that His yes is yes and His no is no. I’m confident He will reach in and rescue me from the neutral zone, provided I am not leaning too far the other way.

Recipe for Life

Some things you just have to learn by doing.

That was yesterday’s final email in an exchange with my daughter, now in law school, who asked, “Okay. I ordered chicken breasts through Peapod, but how do I cook them????????????????” And yes, there is much angst contained in those ???s

This is a capable young woman, smart as a whip, aces tests, papers. She’s logical, athletic, coordinated, beautiful and she has no idea how to cook a chicken breast.

Some things you’re not born with and nobody sits you down to explain step by step on the chalkboard. (Although truth be told, we did make numerous efforts to teach her the basics, to which she responded, “Pfft. I know how to do that.”) Some things you just have to learn by doing.

I have found life is that way for me. Sure, there are cookbooks. Yes, as a Christian I have the Bible. And I believe the recipes for life are right there. But I must be about working out the details in order to get it right. A pinch more of this. A dash more of that.

Who am I kidding? I would like to think it was pinches and dashes. But no, more often there are:

  • things burned to a crisp that beg me to listen for the oven beep.
  • desperate efforts to extract the tablespoon that was supposed to be a teaspoon of that.
  • forgotten ingredients because I was in a rush.
  • substitutions made because I forgot to put THAT on the grocery list.

Nope. I am not a great cook. But I do make a mean zucchini bread. And I am learning that tossing ingredients in the crock pot just to see how they taste often works out just fine. Hey, if not, we chew and smile and make a note not to make THAT again.

And isn’t that the Christian life, really? Read the Book. Follow the directions. Taste and see. Evaluate your effort. Repeat.

Somehow in the doing, we get better and better. Funny how we obsess about what we bring to the table. Christ told us bread and wine was enough. Our families, however, demand chicken and rice. I can do that.

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