Thursday, February 11, 2016

Ashes at the Pizza Place: Breaking Bread

Breaking Bread is a ministry that always surprises me. It began as a conversation about how my friend does beer & hymns and the possibilities of doing church in a bar. The image I had of my friend's ministry somehow being morphed into a ministry of The Episcopal Diocese of Iowa never happened. Our first location didn't allow music and I don't think we will ever have a set up like my friend has in Atlanta. She has a praise team and a bar that regularly hosts local bands. We have a small group of people who want to experience community and communion outside of church walls.

In our first gathering, we found that the reason we were there had nothing to do with trying to be edgy or provocative. We were there because there were people who needed to connect, both with each other, and with Jesus. We provided that space, that place for community in a location that didn't have a steeple and pews. Most of those who gather for Breaking Bread have a church home, some don't. All are looking for Jesus to be revealed in new ways, and sometimes a location change helps.

And last night we gathered in a cramped room at a small pizza place. A place of significance, as Chef D has his own feeding ministry, feeding those who are homeless and in need, inspired by his own faith in Christ. Twenty-two people contemplating that they are dust. There were a couple of older people, a small band of college students, and a larger group of adults with young children. Looking for connection. Seeking Christ in new ways. Interspersed in the Ash Wednesday liturgy was talking and eating, taking care of little ones and getting drink refills.  It wasn't a quiet service, but it was a holy service. When some staff came to receive ashes, I knew why we were there. When a young child handed communion bread to her friend as they played on the floor, I knew why we were there. We were there to find the sacred in the everyday, the extraordinary in the mundane. And as we asked Christ to open our eyes, I saw glimpses of the kingdom. It came simply in the breaking of the bread and the prayers.