November 16, 2007

Holy Food

I've been going to the gym in the mornings. While I'd just as soon tread away in silence, the two TVs are tuned to the morning news shows -- pictures on both, sound track only from one. The news (if one can call it that) on the two TVs is not exactly in sync, but both TVs cover mostly the same stuff. Maybe it is the logical outcome of 24 hour talk TV, or the early morning hour, but a lot of what I see at 5:30 in the morning is pretty silly.

This week, there was a story about a holy pancake. A woman in Florida was cooking breakfast on Sunday (of course....), when she served up a pancake with an image of the Holy Family on it. Or it might have been Moses -- who could tell, for sure. (All those holy folks kind of look the same in the frying pan, don't they?) And then the big dilemma: What exactly do you do with a pancake that has a picture of Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus, or Moses or some other holy person, as the case might be? Do you freeze it so you can take it out on special occasions and view it? Do you serve it up with butter and syrup, destroying the evidence of your personal miracle? And if you do that, who gets to eat it, and then does that person become holier than before, and holier than thou?

Well, what this family did was put the pancake up for auction on EBay with a starting bid of $35.00.

I don't know what I would have done. In the first place, I don't make pancakes, and then, too, I don't really look for pictures of Jesus in my food. I've never found a Madonna in a potato, for example, or seen the face of Jesus in a biscuit. And the truth is that I discount this sort of experience.

And then I am reminded of what happens to me on Sunday morning, not at the kitchen table but at the Communion Table. I break the bread and pour the juice, and it is holy food. I eat and drink and I know the mystical presence of Christ. I take all that in and, God willing, I edge toward holiness myself.

But what happens at that Table is not for sale, not even to the highest bidder.

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