Four Recommendations

Julie Aageson

Reading last week’s blog by Karen Matthias-Long prompted me to think again about the many meanings of bread, of being fed, of feeding one another.  The following resources provide excellent fodder for small group discussion.  Perhaps you’d be willing to add to the list?

 Breaking Bread: The Spiritual Significance of Food by Sara Covin Juengst (Westminster John Knox, 1992) Food and feasting are major biblical themes.  Juengst has taken these Eucharistic themes to create a resource that will enrich readers’ understandings of the spiritual significance of meals, Holy Communion, and rituals of sharing, celebrating, learning, and more.  Each chapter focuses on biblical customs related to food and feasting and concludes with brief “recipes” for action.  From Walter Brueggemann:  “…the book lets us retaste, renotice, and reswallow our life from God.”  

 Daily Bread, Holy Meal: Opening the Gifts of Holy Communion by Samuel Torvend  (Augsburg Fortress, 2004)  From the Worship Matters series, this rich treasure offers an ideal format and fertile content for adult study.  Beginning and ending with his grandmother’s gift of golden molasses bread, Torvend brilliantly unwraps the gifts of the Lord’s Supper.  He invites conversation and reflection that will enrich and deepen every readers’ experience of the Eucharist.   This book is a banquet for all who long for a deeper understanding of the generosity of God.

Gathering at the Table by Elizabeth Hoffman Reed  (Liturgy Training Publications)  This small booklet is sure to stimulate conversation about the sacredness of meals and the ways in which the communion table is about all the other tables in our lives.  Brief reflections in praise of dining, meals, manners, and sharing are interspersed with poignant quotations. 

 Let Us Break Bread Together: A Passover Haggadah for Christians by Michael Smith and Rami Shapiro  (Paraclete Press, 2005)  This lovely guide for planning and hosting a meaningful seder meal brings together the great themes of the Exodus story as a lens for understanding the Last Supper.  In providing a helpful guide to an authentic Jewish Passover meal, Christians will experience a deeper knowledge of the themes of slavery, freedom, and community.  Let Us Break Bread Together is an extraordinary learning opportunity for adults and youth.