The World in a Wafer
There comes a time, every week, when upon my tongue rests…
the throne of the Almighty and the wheat fields of Texas
the manger of Bethlehem and the warming rays of the sun
the flesh of the Passover lamb and raindrops from heaven
a John Deere tractor and the God who says I Am Who I Am.
The wafer is an amphitheater in which a million actors play their part to get this bread into your mouth. From the factory workers at John Deere plants, to the truck drivers who deliver the diesel, to the farmers who sow and harvest the wheat, to the companies that grind it into flour and bake it into wafers, to the delivery drivers who bring it from factory to church, to the guild who prepares the altar, to the pastors and priests who hold between thumb and forefinger this body of God—they, and countless more, all have roles in this amphitheater of bread.
The wafer is a globe in which all of creation, visible and invisible, things of heaven and things of earth, are in service to the God who feeds the hungry. Here is the surface of the earth broken by the plow, the soil that welcomes the seed into its dark womb. Here are the orbs of the sun whose warm rays massage life and growth into the kernel of grain. Here are the droplets of rain that moisten the soil, that slake the thirst of this seed’s tongue. Here are the nutrients in the soil that enrich its vitality. Here are the angels who watch over the farmers and drivers and factory workers and priests. Here are the saints above who pray for those still saints below. Hidden in this wafer is the globe of all creation working in concert to bring the bread of life into our dying bodies.
The wafer is a halo that encircles the brow of the infant cooing at Mary’s breast in the little town of Bethlehem. It is the wreath upon the head of the athlete whose feet ran the race of salvation that took him from Israel to Egypt to Galilee to cross the finish line in Jerusalem. It is the crown of thorns hammered into his skull by Romans as he was enthroned at Calvary as King of the Jews. The wafer is halo and wreath and crown upon our Brother and Friend whose body was broken so that he might piece back together the shards of our sin-shattered lives.
The world is in this wafer. It is the icon of creation, a window into the good gift of the Maker who fashioned heaven and earth for you. It is the icon of your neighbor, for as a thousand grains are ground and kneaded together into one loaf, so you and your neighbor are baked together into the loaf that is one Christ and one church. It is the icon of the new creation in Christ by whom you are refashioned into the image of God. It is the icon of grace, for in this bread is the body of the Savior who welcomes sinners to his table. It is the icon of the resurrection, for if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live into eternity, for this bread is the flesh of Christ for the life of the world.
As you swallow this wafer, you swallow the world. And your sin is swallowed up by the devouring love of the God who has made you his own, redeemed you, and will raise you up at the last day.
What we need in our fragmented world, full of hurting people, is the love of Jesus Christ, who welcomes home sinners with a grace that knows no bounds. My book Christ Alone: Meditations and Sermons, is packed with reflections that go that extra mile of grace. Again and again, they present the Christ who is crucified and risen for you. Please take a moment to check it out here. You may also be interested in my collections of hymns and poetry entitled, The Infant Priest, which you can purchase here. Both books are also available on Amazon, as is my booklet Why Lutherans Sing What They Sing (also on Kindle). Thank you for your prayers and support!