THE BREAD OF LIFE
What is the point of the “Artos,” the large Easter-bread that is blessed at the end of Divine Liturgy of Pascha night and carried in processions around the church (and to the refectory, in monasteries) throughout Bright Week? It symbolizes Christ Himself, in our midst. It is to remind us of the presence of the risen Lord among His disciples both back then, when He joined their conversation on the road to Emmaus and revealed Himself to them “in the breaking of the bread”; when He entered the upper room where they were gathered, “despite the closed doors”; when He stood on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and prepared them breakfast, when they were back to work and (unproductively) fishing; and also now, in the era of the Church, when He continues to reveal His presence in similar ways, – “in the breaking of the Bread” at the Eucharist; in other places where we might be gathered in His name, both offline and online, “despite the closed doors” of our hearts; at our workplace(s), at which we might be struggling unproductively, and so on.
Everywhere and at any time, He is offering Himself to us, as the Bread of Life, as the vital nourishment of our souls and hearts, which, – when we lose sight of Him, – easily slip into self-centered fears, despondency, pointless battles with ourselves and one another, and the unproductive kind of “fishing” for nourishment outside of Him. Today let me not hesitate to reach out to Him, Who is ever-present and able to pull me out of any darkness or death into light and life. Today “the Eternal Light shines bodily from the Tomb upon all,” so let us step into that Light, my friends. Christ is risen!