seeing life as a holy communion

clouds-seeing-life-as-holy-communion

 

Each day we are being offered sweet communion with God, a life full of good things graced by the ordinary-extraordinary, and days rich with the Holy in our midst. And yet we so often miss the marvel moments and heavenly minutiae which make up a life of faith.

When we’re caught up in busyness, held fast by pressure and pain, restricted by our numerous responsibilities, it’s a wonder we stop for breath sometimes, never mind lift our eyes to the heavens just to look at drifting clouds, or simply pause, ponder and pray as we go through our days.

But when we do, we soon discover it’s the little things that matter most, those seemingly everyday occurrences we are all in danger of taking for granted. Until they become compromised, somehow, and valued far more for their rarity.

I’d become used to my husband being a fit, physically active chap, sporty all his life, still playing competitive football when he was fifty. I took his strength, health and energy for granted, little knowing it would vanish one day, just like my own.

First he was hit hard by pain, then an inexplicable tremor developed and a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease came soon after. Before long, his back began to crumble, require urgent medical attention and surgery. It’s now almost six months since he had the operation we assumed would put paid to the pain and increase his mobility.

Sadly, there have been several setbacks along the way and he is still quite unwell. But you know what? We find ourselves celebrating the small, remembering the good, giving thanks instead of grumbling too much at the changes. Because life is precious and each day is opportunity to begin again, to have hope of seeing change for the better.

I am rejoicing with relief at his renewed ability to resume baking bread —the shop-bought stuff not being half so good for her spoilt ladyship!—though he has to pace himself carefully, of course.  It’s a celebration of sorts, a leaning into grace and a way of reminding ourselves of progress being made—albeit slowly, one tiny step and one day at a time…

Communion

bread-kneading-contentment-holy-communion

 

Yeast, salt, oil, flour and water combine

in basin of steel, bend of head

rhythmic kneading—apply pressure

stretch and roll; now a pliable thing

as dough emerges to rise and prove

knock back and shape to suit

the size within these tins

 

She watches mesmerised

by the baker’s craft

moulding staff of life

between firm fingers

awed once more by all

that lingers here, sensing

inside a gift that lasts

 

bread-seeing-life-as-holy-communion-pj

 

Patience, heat, chemistry

and clock will do their work

in perfect alchemy

that doesn’t always happen

perfectly—while air hangs heavy

with promise, rich aroma scents

surroundings and colour changes

 

Once again these golden loaves

are risen, ready, a fragrant feast

offering, living labour of love

Sitting now, they sup the soup

break the bread and sigh their grateful

‘Amen’, as they participate

in this holy communion

©JoyLenton2016

communion-poem-excerpt-seeing-life-as-holy-communion

 

What daily graces are sparking gratitude for you? 

How are you appreciating the holy in your midst?

18 thoughts on “seeing life as a holy communion

  1. I am savoring your phrase “heavenly minutiae” today, Joy. And I’m imagining warmed air, yeasty with promise.

    I read this today and grabbed hold:
    “This is what I shall tell my heart, and so recover hope: the favors of Yahweh are not all passed, his kindnesses are not exhausted. They are renewed every morning.” Thanks for sharing a whiff of communion amid ongoing struggle, friend.

    • Laurie, I’m grateful you’ve found something to savour here beyond the imagery conjured up by breadmaking. Our days are far more “yeasty with promise” than we realise. The lovely reading you shared offers beautiful hope to hurting and world-weary hearts. Thank you so much for all you contribute to this community, my thoughtful friend. God bless you as you lean on God’s rich renewable resources today. xo

  2. Thank you for the reminder to be thankful and appreciate the simple things that matter! I needed this today, and followed the stages of the loaf with my Amen joining in. Blessings dear Joy xx

    • Jenneth, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear you followed “the stages of the loaf” with mouthwatering anticipation as well as a whispered Amen! There’s something really special and inviting about the fragrance of baking bread, isn’t there? Blessings to you, dear friend. xo

  3. Oh, I can almost smell the aroma of freshly baked bread, cut thick with pads of butter melting into the crevices. Oh, how once loved to make loaves each week. Joy, thank you for sharing the whole experience through your poetry.
    I am so sorry about your husband yet I hear the grace rained upon you two in this time of your lives together. God is reigning in your hearts as you walk one day, one moment at a time,,,much like my husband and I are doing. God brings gifts to us in the small and the large and He never leaves us. So as we struggle in the physical bodies, His grace and mercy drift life sunlight across these lives of ours, reminding us of Whose we are and where we are headed…to be whole again and wholly His.
    I have been so blessed by this visit, Joy. So very blessed.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    • Dear Linda, I’m glad you welcomed the poetic expression of bread-making, and I love the way you describe hearing “the grace rained upon you two in this time of your lives together”, because it’s such an apt description for all we are currently experiencing. Our pain paves the way for God to be made manifest and seem nearer than before, as we cling closer to Him during hard times. It sounds like you, too, know this often weary walk of faith, proceeding slow at snail’s pace, one faltering step at a time. And you also know the tremendous keeping power of our God, whose grace and mercy shine like filtered fingers of sunlight across our lives. In the receiving of them we definitely are reminded about “Whose we are and where we are headed…to be whole and wholly His.” So beautifully put, sweet friend. Blessed as always by your visit. Thanks for stopping by. You bring the beautiful fragrance of Christ with you, and I treasure it. ❤

  4. Dear Joy, This Communion Offering brought tears to me, almost more than your poem “They Keep the Faith,” has touched my wife-heart. Such a beautiful picture of taking in the Grace moments, offered daily, just as our daily bread. You continue to inspire me with your words, and bring hope to my days that are changing with my husband as well. We can embrace these changes, not because we learn how to “grit our teeth and bear it,” but because of the Presence of our Lord, bringing those “Joy-seeds” to bloom, even here. My prayers continue to be with you both. Bless you my friend. xoxo

    • Dear Bettie, I am touched by the thought of you being moved to tears by these words. And thankful beyond measure for being an instrument of inspiration to you. May you continue to see and savour the Grace moments infiltrating your days, allowing gratitude and seeds of joy to grow in unexpected places. I have been prone to grit my teeth and bear it in the past but it only led to despair and discouragement. When we see (as you already do), that our faith and chronic illness journeys are actually an invitation to embrace grace, rather than to sit with shame and disgrace, then we are in a better position to be receptive to it than we were before. Thank you so much for your faithful prayers. We appreciate them more than I can say. Bless you, sweet friend. xox

  5. Joy, I really love this. It makes me want to go in the kitchen and bake some bread. It’s been awhile since I did it, but homemade is so much better. Thank you for reminding us to look for the little things, because they are important.

    Blessings to you! xo

    • Gayl, I’m pleased this has whet your appetite to bake bread again! Yes, homemade is so much better. My husband has perfected a recipe over time, one that allows for long rests in-between each activity. Keep on looking out for those important little things, my friend. Blessings and hugs! xo

    • Amen, Tara, it’s a beautiful gift of grace to share in the breaking of bread together, made extra special because we are unable to get out easily to share those things with our church.

  6. Already the first picture comforted my heart, Joy. I love the warmth of color God’s light created in the clouds. Yes, He is with us. Our Light in the darkness. Our Warmth in the coldness. And Our Living Bread we can’t do without. I’m so sorry your husband’s recovery has been so slow. It takes so much patience for both of you. I’m so glad that through it all God is teaching you both to find His beauty in the little things. I’m impressed that your husband makes homemade bread! Such beautiful, healthy-looking loaves, too. 🙂 May God give you both strength for each day! Hugs!

    • Trudy, those glorious warm rays spoke to me too. I love indulging in a spot of cloud-watching! Thank you for your kind concern. It really is a gift of grace to be able to see the beauty in life’s little things when our days are heavy with challenge. Mu husband loves to cook, thankfully, and his loaves are lovely! Blessings and hugs to you too, dear friend. xo

    • Barbie, I see exactly the same in your words as well. It’s rather wonderful how God equips us to write hope into hurt and heartache, isn’t it? So blessed by you being here, friend! xo

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