this is my body

I am an ordained ministry and a worship professor at a School of Divinity. This week for our Maundy Thursday chapel service, I was the preacher and communion presider. For the first time in my 30 years of ministry, I dropped half of the loaf of communion bread on the floor. Yes. I dropped the bread. I was mortified, but after an awkward silence, we nevertheless partook of the holy meal. The experience was profound for me.

That day in chapel we remembered Jesus’ last night with his friends. In the two days since Thursday, I have been remembering—all of the fallen bodies I keep reading about in the news. What a broken world this is—and how urgent it is that we remember the fragilities and possibilities of our humanity.

this is my body

no one expected
such unrehearsed irreverence
least of all me
after many and myriad
maundy thursdays of
breaking
blessing
sharing
holy bread

but there i stood
by the table
grabbing
for the bread of life as it
slipped from my hands and
with awkward acrobatics
tumbled
down
down
to the unhallowed
stony
feet-trampled
sanctuary
floor

the loaf was heavy that day
a body resisting
being broken
until—
something startled
my struggling hands and
i was left
holding half a whole
of a body
fallen

who can take
fractured tomorrows
bless them
and not bear the scars
in aching palms

i knelt down and
took up the remains
all of us
ate
together

this is my body
remember

Author: Jill Crainshaw

I am a professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity and an ordained PCUSA minister.

6 thoughts on “this is my body”

  1. I could not help but laugh then a heavy sigh at the truth of broken bodies falling and feet trambled sanctuary floors. Places we come into be whole but never seem to take the time to honor the necessity of the breaking. Thank you Jill for your continual friendship, mentorship and worship wisdom. An absolutely beautiful poem.

    Like

  2. The body, the bread, cast down to the depths to rise again-to fill souls with its wholeness like none other. I read the story of Emmaus again this morning and realized for the first time that it was only upon Jesus’ breaking of the bread that he became recognizable. The bread must be broken. What a beautiful and powerful thing to have happen-we see in the falling.

    Like

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