By Kelly Delp
Lead Pastor, The Bridge
One of the most powerful moments in a Sunday morning meeting with believers is that of the Eucharist. It is a moment when we all, as one, pause our lives, pause our mornings, and consider again the body and the blood of our Saviour. I love leading the church in communion. I love sweeping my gaze across the congregation and seeing everyone with eyes softly shut, lips moving in repentance or gratitude. I love reading out of 1 Corinthians where Paul reminded us of Jesus’ words: “This is my body, broken for you…this cup is the new covenant.” I love singing together with the taste of these symbols still on our tongues, hearts full of gratitude and mouths full of praise.
This is a moment for me of deep connection within the church. We are all thinking, saying, doing the same thing at the same time. We hold in our hands the same cup; the same piece of torn bread.
Croissants and Coffee
But this eucharist is not the only deep moment of connection for us. In our worship experience, the bread and the wine (okay fine, it’s juice) are rivaled by our post-service communion of croissants and espresso. We gather in corners and around tables, sipping our coffee and breaking bread together, flakes of croissant falling quietly to the floor. This is where we ask one another about ailing parents, grandchildren who live too far away, or their dating relationships. This is where we pass babies around, marvel at pregnant bellies, and catch the toddlers as they wobble. This is where we cry with those in our church who are in pain, or cry happy tears at stories of answered prayer.
For up to an hour after each service we partake together in this holy community we call church. Since the very first service we launched, we enjoy coffee and croissants after the service. This is not simply a perk of our Sunday morning experience – this is a strategic effort to engage with the people in our church. This is how we begin relationships that will lead to deep discipleship. We have learned after seven years in the suburbs of Paris that not a lot of people here think they need Jesus. Even believers sometimes think they don’t need the church. But this hour of sharing through this form of communion together is a lifeline. It is a lighthouse in the darkness of loneliness those in the Paris area face. It is the body of Christ functioning as it was meant to – celebrating joy together, bearing one another’s burdens, and praying for each other’s needs. It’s a spontaneous sacred moment of our hearts as believers being knit together in the name of Christ.
Building the Church by Breaking Bread
In our church it happens over coffee and croissants. It happens over dinner tables with toys strewn in the corners. It happens at midnight with a second cup of tea. It takes effort. It is not always easy or comfortable. But it is church as it was meant to be. Sometimes the body is made evident over a small piece of unleavened bread, and sometimes it’s made flesh over a croissant. In either case, the church grows deeper roots within our hearts and within our love for one another. And whether over a finger-printed cup of juice or a paper cup of espresso, as the church in Acts, we break bread together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God.