Eat this bread, drink this cup

This weekend’s song from Sing Praise is another communion song: “Eat this bread, drink this cup”. It’s a chant from the Taize community.  I was familiar with the chorus (“Eat this bread, drink this cup, come to him and never be hungry. Eat this bread, drink this cup, trust in him and you will not thirst”) but the five verses for cantor are new to me, as is the alternative wording of the chorus presumably intended for an occasion other than a communion service, with “eat this bread / drink this cup” replaced by an invocation of Jesus as “bread of life / risen Lord”.

The text is based on John’s gospel chapter 6, John’s account of Jesus’ teaching about himself as the bread of life which starts with the miracle of feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread. The verses of the song meditate on what it means to have Jesus as the bread of life within us, and the eternal life that he promises.  It’s easy, in churches such as the one I attend that have a weekly communion service, just to get into a routine of saying the familiar words and eating he bread or wafer without much thought.  But really, we should pause and ponder again each time what this miracle might mean, that by sharing the bread we become part of the body of Christ as he becomes part of us.