Amid my steady diet of Peter Paul Mounds and apple pie, I occasionally sneak in something healthy. This week it’s my first box of Ezekiel 4:9, that not-so-well-known organic “sprouted grain crunchy cereal.” “Crunchy” I can vouch for—its texture is reminiscent of granulated peach pits. I suspect its flavor is not far off of those same peach pits—call it “nutty” if you want to be generous. But it’s a mixture of those six ingredients listed in Ezekiel where we are instructed to take “wheat and barley and beans and lentils and millet and spelt and put them into one vessel and make bread….”
This cereal in my bowl is not bread, of course, but according to the blurb on the box, it is an amazingly healthy mix and a source of excellent protein, and it comes from California, leader in all dietary fads and dicta. Well and good—I feel better and very righteous already—but I do ponder this question: since this is the only recipe the Bible provides for bread, why are we not making our communion wafers of this blend? This is a question for my seriously fundamentalist friends—answer at your leisure.
Meanwhile, my mind wanders to that newspaper story several years back, of a young woman with celiac disease who could not tolerate the usual wheat wafers and thus could not take communion. She asked her priest about a substitute, but was coldly rejected: “It’s wheat wafers or no communion.” Now, I don’t know what variety of bread was served when Jesus said, “Take this bread….this is my body….” Maybe he was dead set on Ezekiel 4:9 bread, and maybe he wasn’t. And maybe if the worshipper had explained to him her medical condition, Jesus would have cured it on the spot and she could have resumed communion and regular worship with nary an intestinal flare-up.
Yes, he too could have said, “It’s wheat wafers or no communion,” but I doubt it. Let compassion rule and love abound and grace come streaming forth.