‘In the breaking of the bread’
(Luke 24:30-32) And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, he blessed and broke and gave it to them. At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, they recognised him. And then he disappeared. Back and forth they talked. “Didn’t we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?”
Like me you may have been surprised at the number of people that did not recognise the risen Christ straight away. Mary in the garden thought Jesus was the gardener. Perhaps the strangest of all is that two of his disciple that spoke to him over many hours on a long walk from Jerusalem to the hill village of Emmaus failed to recognise him.
Was there a sense in which they were kept from recognising him?
Was his appearance very different in his new resurrection body?
We don’t know the answer but what we do know is that when he broke bread they did recognise him. That wonderful repetition of the simple action that marked every shared meal was enough.
After the resurrection every single time the disciples gathered they broke bread and remembered Jesus. Two thousand years later we do the same at every communion service. Theologians speak of the anamnesis of holy communion. That word is the root word from which we get amnesia.
We do this so that we do not forget.
That is why this meal means so much and why it always will.