Saturday, March 27, 2010

a bit more on Miles

Sara Miles, that is.
Her conversion occurred all at once, as the direct result of Communion. One day she just walked into a neighborhood church, sat down, sang, and when the time came gathered at the altar with everyone else to receive the bread and wine. And when she did, in spite of an utterly non-"religious" upbringing, she was filled with the sense of transubstantiation -- with the conviction of Jesus as the bread, as the wine, Jesus within her. She describes this incredible transformation very well. And more importantly, she is able to catalogue all the inconvenient ways in which her life is utterly rearranged as a result. She's clear about the precious gift and the costs, the adjustments required in becoming reconciled to all the human beings surrounding one, a necessity she emphasizes as prerequisite for following Christ. She talks about resisting change and making mistakes. And her conviction that she is called to feed people -- as a cook, as a volunteer administrator and founder of a food pantry -- is based on her first experience of Communion. Feeding the hungry becomes Communion.

That's what really turns me on. I'm sure that's right: that in all things we are called to honor and repeat the loving grace of Jesus at the Last Supper, when he feeds his followers and calls on them to honor his life and death and teaching and the God who empowered him forevermore in the breaking of bread. And while the approach with which I run our church food shelf isn't very far from Miles' own in terms of administration, I have obviously lost sight of the grace inherent. Thanks to the book, I'm taking steps to get back to that grace. Getting back to service, to serving people and feeding people and letting them feed me too in their way.

More later.

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