The bread that we shared at chapel at the beginning of this week was super crumbly, the sort of bread that it seemed you only needed to look at and it would start to crumble. We shared communion by intinction, the servers moving around the circle that we were standing in, the first person giving us a piece of bread that they had torn off the loaf, which we then dipped into the cup of juice that was held by the second person. And as the first person walked around, tearing off a piece of bread for each of us, she left a trail of crumbs behind her.
For some people I can appreciate that this would be of theological concern, having the body of Christ dropped onto the floor. But I also felt quite struck by seeing this trail of breadcrumbs, the mess. A reminder that we don’t need to be neat and tidy with God. That God is not only there in our mess but wants to be there. Following Jesus can also be messy, and hard and difficult, it’s probably not going to be as neat and tidy and organized and go according to how we might like it to. And that that is ok.
The breadcrumbs were also a reminder of Jesus’ presence that remained even after we’d finished with communion. That it wasn’t going to be easy to just finish the chapel and forget about the meal that we’d just shared because these crumbs would remain. Jesus’ presence wasn’t something that was going to come to an end just because that part of the day had come to a conclusion. I went back into the room where we had chapel several hours later and noticed, despite someone having attempted to clean up, there were still crumbs there. There was still a visible reminder of Jesus’ presence in the room.
I don’t think I’ve felt quite so comforted before by seeing crumbs on the floor. These crumbs weren’t just a mess. They were a visible reminder that God is always with us. No matter how messy things might feel. No matter how hard we might try to forget or ignore. God is always with us.