April 20, 2015: Pizza as Communion?

Posted on : Apr 20th, 2015 | By | Category: Still Speaking

A friend of mine, using a play on words with another term for Communion, jokes that we Christians today, instead of celebrating “the Lord’s supper” celebrate “the Lord’s snack.” What he’s referring to is that we take such small pieces of the bread – whether it’s cut-up cubes, communion wafers or pieces torn off a loaf – that it’s more like a snack than a supper.

A number of years ago, one Communion Sunday, Tommy, a homeless young man who worshipped with us, was sitting close to the front of the church. When I lifted the Communion bread to bless it and break it, his eyes riveted on that loaf of bread. When he came forward, he didn’t break off a tiny piece; he broke off three-quarters of the loaf, dipped one end of the bread in the Communion chalice (cup) and went back to his seat where he finished off the rest of the bread that he had taken. That experience always reminds me of how differently we who have plenty value the bread that is broken. Most of us view it as a snack. But, in the early Christian tradition, that bread was Supper – the main meal. And sometimes that bread was all that was available to eat that day.

Molly Baskette shares a wonderful story about pizza as Communion. I wonder: if we served Pizza for communion, would we still take only a tiny bit or go for the whole thing? Think about that next time you come forward for Communion.

May you be blessed with Community and Communion this Easter season!





Pay it Forward

Molly Baskette

“Send out your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will get it back.” – Ecclesiastes 11:1

Mason Wartman always has a line of customers out of the door of Rosa’s, his pizza shop in Philly. It might not be the best pizza in town, but it’s the kindest. Colorful Post-its flutter on the walls of the shop like Tibetan prayer flags. Each one is a love-note to the future: a voucher for one free slice of pizza, bought by a paying customer who knows that the next person in the door might be broke.

In the last year alone, Mason’s community has bought more than 10,000 slices of pizza for each other, using the simple, elegant post-it strategy Mason devised.

Mason’s ritual works because it’s not charity. It’s communion. Charity can do a lot of good, but charity also sometimes brings dented castoffs to the food drive and calls it love.

Charity makes inequality radically visible. Communion makes inequality radically invisible. In the early church, communion was not a symbolic ritual, but a full meal—for some, the only meal they’d get that day. Imagine: platters of hot bread as big as your face gracing the table, and everybody eating their fill. Theoretically, nobody knew who was rich one, poor one, beggar one, slave. It was a meal designed to erase those boundaries, because we are all beggars in the eyes of God.

Thank you, God, for Post-its like prayer flags and pizza that tastes like bread from heaven. Amen.

Molly Baskette is senior minister of First Church Somerville UCC in Somerville, MA, and the author of the book Real Good Church: How Our Church Came Back from the Dead and Yours Can Too.



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