This past weekend, on the first Sunday of lent, we celebrated communion with our congregation, Fairview Reformed Church. For the meal, I made Paska, a traditional Ukrainian bread. Food has always been one of my places of comfort, sharing, and showing love. When I was in college at Northwestern, I lived in a community my junior year called The Mission House. We were a group of fifteen students, a professor and his wife, and a beautiful golden retriever. One of my most cherished memories in my entire time at NWC was the weekly meals we would prepare on Sunday evenings. We spent 2-3 hours preparing a meal from the country of a student on campus, and then we would sit around while eating that beautiful meal and both learn about the given country and pray for their people. I learned how important the taste of home is there at that table, and that has been with me as I traveled the globe. In my travels, I have learned that even when we cannot speak the same language as another, we can still break bread together and find good company.
The past few weeks have rattled me as I watch blocks and beloved buildings be destroyed. My stomach has ached as I see families with small children run in danger. As friends from Romania, a bordering country of Ukraine, mourn the loss of family members and look for ways to help their country-neighbor. As I sat in the middle of Illinois, I wanted to honor the people who currently can not take time to make their bread out of fear. I wanted to taste what home tastes like to them, out of love. I wanted to join them at the table, whether they are in abandoned buildings, basements, or in neighboring countries where they do not know if they will ever see their friends and family again. To eat with others is to show love and community. In our Reformed tradition, we come to the table in remembrance, communion, and hope. This past Sunday, in our little town of Fairview, we came to the table remembering that Christ died for both us and our beloved brothers and sisters in Ukraine. We came in communion with them, holding them in prayer. And we came with hope, believing that one day there will be peace again, justice again, and with unveiled faces, we shall behold Christ at his feast of love. In this season of lent and pain we pray, come Lord Jesus.