Rich Are Not Always Saviours of the Poor
Peers, Michael, Anglican Journal
AS CHRISTIANS we are accustomed to take bread seriously.
The word ("lehem" in Hebrew, "artos" in Greek) occurs over 400 times in scripture, and bread itself is at the heart of the most characteristic action of Christians. We have gathered for over one hundred thousand successive Sundays at the Lord's Table to follow Jesus' command to "do this" with bread and wine.
I want to offer two recent reflections on bread. Earlier this year I was invited to visit a church of the Eastern rite in Toronto. I met with clergy associated with the parish: some in the tradition of the Eastern Orthodox, some Eastern rite Catholics.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Bishop Sleiman Hajjar of the Greek Melkite Catholic Church in Canada, a member of the ecumenical commission of the Catholic bishops in Canada. His sudden, tragic death is noted elsewhere in the Journal.
The sanctuary of the church is tiny and filled with icons in the splendid Eastern tradition. You enter it through a large room, which is a social centre that, among other things, provides lunch for people who need it. We all ate there at noon -- a simple sandwich lunch.
The bread was remarkable. It is baked on the premises under the guidance of a baker from France, and is of a very high quality.
The church is in an older neighbourhood that is undergoing great transition. Some places obviously house people living in real poverty. Others have been" gentrified", or are in the process of that sort of change.
The church runs yet another project for the newer arrivals -- a bakery store where they sell their bread to people looking for a quality product. Yet the rich and the poor are eating the same magnificent bread. …