On this eve of Epiphany, I start back into the rhythm and pulse of life and ministry. As with others, perhaps I have focused on the blessings of celebration and thanksgiving with a bit too much gusto. I want to hold on to the memories, the feelings, the time that is between the great celebrations, and live in Christmastide forever.
Like many this time of year, perhaps I am emphasizing my experiences with beginnings and endings. I am reflecting on the blessings and sorrow of beginnings and endings. I am transitioning from the celebrations of the holy family at the house of bread, moving to the familiar patterns of ministry and prayer.
In Newfoundland there is a tradition of bread-making which creates delicious loaves with three buns. Any of those who have stayed with me here, will attest to ‘poppy’s bread’ (or perhaps ‘poppy’s toutons) and the pure joy of experiencing the taste and fulfillment of this staple.
Through many conversations with friends and family, there is an ongoing debate as to which part of the loaf is the most desirable, the most enjoyable. Some say the crust, (the heel) others like the centre slices. Me, I prefer the kissing slice.
The kissing slice is the slice that is the join between two buns. It is smaller than some of the other slices, but it has more butter on the top. For me, it is the sweet spot in the loaf. Apart from its taste, it reminds me of the blessings of the in-between time at endings and beginnings. Almost like C.S. Lewis’ wood between the worlds in the Narnian Chronicles, it reminds me of the potential of transitions. In the pondering of the coming and going of years, I am reminded of the coming and going of seasons, and of the holy homecoming of life and death.
The kissing slice reminds me that in the meeting of the two times, the two states, the transition is not as hard as one might think. The kissing slice is bread. I may prefer it above others, yet that is more in my mind and heart, than in reality. Bread is bread, whether heel, kissing slice, or plain slice; All is bread, and it is good.
I hope in my deliberations about transitions in my life and ministry, I can appreciate the presence of the one who breaks the bread, and be reminded that whichever piece I receive, it will be in the eating, that I may receive all that God has to offer. May I not concentrate so much on the piece and where it is in relation to the whole. May I continually be blessed that there is bread for the eating!